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Balloons on Boots Street

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BUSINESS OWNER: Travis Carson, owner of The Balloon Room, chats about starting his new business. Carson opened the store because he wanted to create a large selection of ballooms for partygoers in Marion to choose from.
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ALL OCCASIONS: Baby balloons adorn a wall inside The Balloon Room in Marion.
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BALLOON FUN: A Valentine’s Day balloon decoration inside The Balloon Room.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

Growing up, Travis Carson said he remembers balloon shops sitting in north Marion and on Nebraska Street. In recent years, however, those shops have closed, leaving few balloon options for people to choose from.

Carson said he was born and raised in Marion but is now an Indianapolis resident who has come to realize that people in the community often have to travel to pick from a wider selection of balloons. If people stay in town and go to somewhere like a dollar store to get their mother a birthday balloon, they have to choose between the same few every year, he explained.

“If you go to Dollar General they only have something like six balloons you get to select from,” he explained. “So unless you wanna go to Kokomo or Muncie and that’s a hassle to drive, so I think it’ll be a good thing for the community where they don’t have to drive.”

After three years of thinking about it, Carson said he decided to create a better selection for the community and opened The Balloon Room on Boots Street with his brother Xavier Carson in late December 2018.

The brothers have owned the property for nearly two years, but decided to make a shift in what they use it for.

According to Grant County property records, Xavier Carson purchased the 521 S. Boots St. property in April 2017 for $12,000. The property was formerly the Sinai Temple. Carson’s purchase caused controversy in 2017 after complaints that the Jewish temple was being used as a sort of nightclub. The listing agent at the time said Carson had said it would be used for Bible ministry and a food pantry. Social media posts advertising parties marketed the property as The Cave.   

When walking into The Balloon Room today, customers are met with a colorful wall-to-wall display of balloons to choose from for every occasion.

Along with birthday balloons, baby balloons, get well soon balloons, character or sports team balloons, congratulations balloons and balloons for a special someone, The Balloon Room can also make custom pieces.

These pieces are more unique and can include balloons inside of balloons or even stuffed animals inside of balloons. Carson said they can pretty much do anything.

At first he said a lot of people were asking for balloon bouquets, but once he created the first nearly three-foot friendly balloon structure that smiles at potential customers, the demand for those took off.

“(I’ve enjoyed) learning how to mess with the balloons and create stuff with the balloons,” he said.

Besides being closer than other party stores, Carson said the price and availability sets them apart. Though the shop has set hours, he works to help people out even in last minute requests.

For example, he recently had someone call to ask if he could provide balloons for a 10 p.m. balloon release in a cemetery.

“They wanted 30 balloons and I said ‘yeah come on!’ So I hurried up and did it by 8-9 o’clock and took them out there,” he said with a smile.

The shop has individual balloons starting at $2.95 and has everyday balloon bouquet specials starting at $7.99, which includes one 18-inch mylar balloon with three latex balloons.

So far, Carson said business has been decent, but they’re still trying to get their name out and promote what they have.