Balloon Dude opens in Route 82 storefront

by Laura Bednar

What was once Balloon Barn in Sagamore Hills has rebranded to Balloon Dude, opening in its first storefront at 138 E. Aurora Rd. in Northfield.

Jim Heller and his wife Robyn started the business almost six years ago out of a barn on their Sagamore Hills property. Heller said his wife was looking for a unique balloon arrangement for their son’s birthday, but couldn’t find a business that offered custom designs.

The pair, along with a third business partner, then started their own balloon business, transitioning from a barn, to a storage unit and now a storefront.

“We wanted to expand,” said Heller, adding that the move came with a rebranding of the name and the third partner leaving the business. Much of the business’ client base is local residents.

The location is the former home of Rockin’ Frocks, and Heller and his family spent over a month renovating the space with new flooring, paint and a counter. The business was previously delivery only, but the new space allows customers to pick up orders directly. Heller said the first week of business showed roughly 60% deliveries and 40% in-person pickups.

“We primarily like to do custom things,” said Heller. He said the business has made balloon configurations for birthdays, graduations, proms, business grand openings and fundraisers.

Heller said he enjoys “using balloons for a good cause,” beyond just nonprofit events. He gave an example of decorating the front yard of a young girl at his family’s church that had just started leukemia treatment.

In addition to clusters of balloons, Balloon Dude has incorporated rope ties and French twists for a unique but professional look.

“My wife is creative with ideas, and we test out new configurations,” said Heller. “We talk to other balloon companies in the country to see what they’re doing.”

Future plans include a mail-order balloon package in which people can assemble their own configurations with the help of a DIY YouTube video. Heller said people sometimes enjoy making their own decorations and “balloons bring excitement.” ∞

Photo: Family members (l-r) Robyn, Leland and Jim Heller own the newly opened Balloon Dude business. Photo by Michael Rankin.