When Roxane Ballandby moved to Ely eight years ago, she told herself that she would eventually turn her love of making homemade crafts into a business. Her new store, Party Train Express, will celebrate its grand opening from July 1-6 in the basement of the Garnet Mercantile and represents the culmination of a passion for making things that dates back 25 years for Bellandby.
“It’s fun. It’s exciting. Everyone seemed to like what I was making so I thought why not open a store and work for myself while continuing to do what I love to do,” she said.
The theme of the store is a “gift, party and fun shop” according to the excited new owner. With its offering of custom gift baskets, t-shirts with a selection of iron-on options, handmade wallets, gifts inside balloons and more, Party Train Express hopes to be a “friendly place to go” and look for a unique gift for any occasion.
“You could look through all the stuff we have in here for hours,” Bellandby said of the store’s large inventory.
While the store recently commenced its “soft open,” Bellandby is hoping to draw in a large crowd over the Fourth of July weekend during the store’s Grand Opening with a special raffle promotion. Anyone that purchases a gift from her store from July 1-6 will be entered to win a full barbecue set including grill and a pair of outdoor chairs.
“We will have the raffle going on and we will also be handing out free balloons for kids as well as free cookies and lemonade,” the owner said.
Bellandby started buying materials and crafting the different gifts for sale in the store shortly after moving to Ely. After being unable to find a store in town dedicated to the kinds of gifts she was creating, she decided to get to work on opening a store of her own.
“Everybody in the community needs a place they can go just for fun. Its like a release,” she said.
In addition to carrying her creations, Bellandby also tried to come up with different things that aren’t available anywhere else. That includes “candy bouquets” that replace flowers with different forms of candy in colorful combinations designed to look like a traditional bouquet, flower pot and all. Another unique offering is Bellandby’s “name machine” that can create custom paper plaques for weddings, baby showers, etc.
“I wanted to make it so that people could come in and pick and choose what they want,” Bellandby said.
For more information on Party Train Express, contact Garnet Mercantile at 775-289-4636.