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Photos by Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Melinda Davenport has turned her home business into a full-time shop, Melinda’s Balloons & Decorations.
Business spotlight

Unique spot in Waynedale

Decorating, events shop brings new kind of service to the area

Employee Angel Moore carries a balloon column to the front of the store at Melinda’s Balloons & Decorations in Waynedale.

Melinda’s Balloons & Decorations

Address: 6720 Old Trail Road in Waynedale

At a glance: A social events decorating business, specializing in weddings, receptions and similar occasions

Employees: Two (part time)

Annual revenue: $10,000

When was the company founded: 2002

Biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months: Leasing a storefront after working from home for more than 10 years. “I turned 50 and I’m not getting any younger, so I quit my job as a bus driver at Fort Wayne Community Schools,” said owner Melinda Davenport. “We didn’t get a loan or any other kind of financial help. We’re really stepping out on faith, but it’s been awesome. The people in Waynedale have been so supportive.”

What was your biggest mistake in operating this business: Not becoming a full-time operation sooner. “There aren’t many balloon decorating businesses around,” Davenport said. “So yes, I kind of regret not sticking with it (full time) over the years because I get so much joy out of what I do. I could be in my shop all day. It gives me peace.”

What are the key challenges facing your business or industry: Being a small business, financial support is always a concern. Davenport said she refused to mortgage her home as collateral for a bank loan. “We wanted to keep business and our personal lives separate,” said Davenport, whose husband, Thomas, is an hourly employee at BFGoodrich. “Business has been good, though, and it’s getting better, it seems, each month.”

What is your strategy for staying ahead of your competition: Reaching out to the community, which creates good word of mouth. “My customer service stands out too, I think, because I love making people happy and that comes across,” Davenport said.

What resources have you found most helpful in running a business: Industry workshops, support from friends and family

What are your growth projections for the next five years: 3 percent to 5 percent in sales each year

What is one thing about your business that people might not be aware of: The extent of the business’ services. Besides weddings and receptions, Davenport’s client list can include churches, funeral homes and high schools.

If you weren’t running this business, what would you be doing: Driving school bus

Source: Melinda Davenport, owner Compiled by Paul Wyche of The Journal Gazette Business Spotlight profiles small businesses that are at least three years old and have 100 or fewer employees. To recommend a business, email the name of the company and the name and phone number of a contact person to pwyche@jg.net or fax to 461-8893.

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