A new balloon shop has opened on Hennepin Avenue S. and 25th Street. If you’ve been keeping up with global news, you may be asking yourself, “But, what about the helium shortage?”
If you are Ana Hernández, it’s not a problem. At Uptown Balloons, Hernández is creatively exploring a wide range of balloon decor and gifts that can be created without helium. And it all started with a YouTube video.
“I saw one video and surprised my daughter,” Hernández said, explaining how she got into making balloon art and decor. And then, one by one, Hernández’s family members started asking her to do balloon decorations for parties.
As she fulfilled her family’s requests, Hernández continued to take online classes for balloon decoration. She found in-person classes, too. Her business moved from family requests to Facebook Marketplace. And then, she saw the for lease sign at The Corner Balloon Shoppe’s storefront and inquired.
According to Hernández, the landlord wanted the storefront to continue to be a balloon shop–as it had been for decades.
In 1979, Meg and Dennis Tuthill opened a general store which morphed into Tuthill’s Balloon Emporium. In 2006, Tuthill’s coincidentally also ran into a helium shortage. The balloon shop switched hands in 2010 and was named The Corner Balloon Shoppe. Owner Kristina Taylor left the location in October. And now, a third balloon shop with the opening of Uptown Balloons.
“Her stuff is beautiful,” Meg Tuthill said of Hernández’s work. Tuthill referenced the labor-intensive pedals that Hernández adds into her balloon flowers. “That stuff drove me nuts,” Tuthill said, reminiscing on her own balloon work.
Uptown Balloons’ motto is, “We make your dreams into reality!” and they seem to mean it. Your balloons dreams, anyway.
When I stopped in to chat about the business, Hernández rattled off a lot of balloon decoration options as her partner, Edwin, rattled off even more. “Just look on the website,” Edwin said to me.
New to my life was the gift box inside a giant balloon option. I was duly impressed with the concept of putting wine bottles and candy inside a balloon. Ana and her daughter make hair bows, too. And yes, you can have them displayed among or inside balloons.
Ana and Edwin encourage people to stop in and talk with them about your ideas. Uptown Balloons will decorate for parties, events, and business settings.
Uptown Balloons is located at 2455 Hennepin Ave. S. They are open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.