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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Balloons Across the River Closes Down Retail Shop in Fort Thomas

Balloons Across the River owner, Trent Wessling is moving his business from Fort Thomas at 906 N. Fort Thomas Avenue to his home in Highland Heights.

Wessling said that he started his business in 1980 in Covington as Fantasy Limited.

"We were doing balloon displays and arches but at that time we were also doing singing telegrams," he said. "I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but our repertoire was fairly limited and even I could pull off an occasional "Happy Birthday" for a customer on their front doorstep."

He and his wife bought a home in Fort Thomas in 1985 and moved their business from Covington to their home town, operating for the first few years out of their basement. They soon grew out of that space and two years later moved to 834 N. Fort Thomas Avenue at the corner of the avenue and Memorial Parkway.

The bulk of their business is balloon decorations for parties, corporate events and grand openings. Wessling said some of his best work was on display for the Cincinnati bicentennial and most people in town would be familiar with the arches that he did every year for Merchants and Music, the Christmas or Pumpkin Walk or at Tower Park for the Easter Egg Hunt. Years ago, Balloons Across the River used to wholesale bows to almost every major hospital in the area.

"In 1990, I got a call from Dick Neltner, who owned the building just up the street. He had a tenant skip out on him and he made us an offer we couldn't refuse."

Wessling and Balloons Across the River was in the location for nearly thirty years.

"We made a real effort at retail here in town and we'll miss getting up and going into work everyday," he said. "Fort Thomas is a very nice place to be and a very nice area." 

The balloon specialty store that also sells gifts, cards and candy packages, will operate mainly online and Wessling said they'll continue to have the same phone number. They closed for good on June 1 in Fort Thomas, but will still be operating as a home-based business in Highland Heights.

He said going forward there will be no delivery charge to customers in Fort Thomas.

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