As we have lauded in past editions, long live the small business because it is small businesses across America that account for 70 percent of our country’s Gross National Product. This is no small feat when considering the vast number of major corporations, manufacturers and professional services that provide spirited momentum to the U.S. free enterprise system.
All are significant.
Each is equally as important.
Every one that has proven successful has done so by discovering the sweet spot in a limited market whose niche is filled with need by a consuming public.
As announced recently on the front page of our newspaper, Balloons & Party Décor — founded in January by Lloyd and LaMon Capron — have been named recipients of the annual Rising Star award, a prestigious recognition given by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.
The awards breakfast was hosted by the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce whose interests are common to those promoted through TSBDC.
Like any successful enterprise, Balloons & Party Décor began with a dream. Only a few months later, it has already evolved into a “dream come true.” Those are not our words. Instead, they belong to the Caprons who not only are partners in the business world, but in matrimony as well. They have been married more than 34 years, and have been blessed with three children and four grandchildren.
Theirs is a story best told in a heartwarming novel, perhaps even a romance.
Lloyd moved to Cleveland in 1972 from the Turks and Caicos Island and he began attending LaMon’s church. They attended high school together and were sweethearts throughout their school years.
Upon high school graduation, LaMon worked in a sewing factory and in 1987, soon after the birth of her first child, she enrolled at Cleveland State Community College where she studied computers. Two years later, she began a 20-year career at M&M Mars, now known as Mars Chocolate N.A. She retired in December 2008, but her fervor to stay busy kept her dreams alive to operate a small business.
In the meantime, Lloyd continues a 36-year career with the P&G Duracell plant in Cleveland. His wife’s dream to be an entrepreneur is their dream.
And so it was that the aspiring couple launched Balloons & Party Décor, a business whose focus has served a market surrounding graduations, open houses, baby fairs and a potential wedding market. The business is already expanding its merchandise selection for birthdays and other celebrations, and is continuing to grow its balloon offerings. The company is also delving into gift wrapping and possibly a delivery service.
Launching a small business was not a quick decision, nor did it come overnight. But time is telling that it was the right decision.
“We did lots and lots of praying about this business,” LaMon told our newspaper. “Our friends and family have been very supportive ... but we thank God most of all.”
The business founders set their sights early on success and they have done their homework. This year’s “Rising Star” has participated in eight TSBDC-sponsored programs, community initiatives and Chamber of Commerce projects. They have sought training and gleaned experience through an array of outlets.
Operating any small business comes with unique challenge. But with adequate preparation, faith and a little luck, it can be followed by great success.
Such success is the mark of a “Rising Star.”
And such a “Rising Star” lies inside the storefront of Balloons & Party Décor, a company that walks the walk and talks the talk of hard work, long hours and enduring belief.
We applaud the spirit of this fledgling business and we salute the glow of its community shine.