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Pandemic drive-by celebrations helped local business remain in operation

Celebrations balloons.jpg
Posted at 12:00 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 19:37:22-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Sisters Krystal Baxter and Kathy Ramirez started Celebrations by The Party Sisters in 2015 as an event planning and venue business. Their most popular events were baby showers, even holding a baby shower expo at their venue. Unfortunately for Baxter and Ramirez, when the pandemic started, business stopped.

“We were thinking that that month we closed, it was just going to be temporary, everybody thought it was going to be back open, it’s going to get better. Once that end of the month came around, so did our bills, and we could not just sit down and wait for this to be over. We knew if we didn’t get back on our feet, that we would eventually have to close our doors as well,” Baxter said.

The Party Sisters participated in the adopt-a-senior program, giving balloon bouquets to any senior who had had a graduation event planned with them. After posting those pictures, people started messaging them, asking to do balloons for drive-by events.

“Once we posted the balloons on our Facebook page, that’s when everything took off during COVID. We knew we couldn’t just sit there and wait for business to come in, and we started working our balloon business,” Baxter said.

“Everybody was calling us for baby shower drive-by parties, graduation drive-by parties, birthday parties. So, we ended up jumping on that, we said, ‘you know what, we just need to start focusing more on the drive-bys,’ because our venue the business that it should’ve been,” Ramirez said.

The sisters learned quickly that working with balloons outdoors in an area like the Coastal Bend was not an easy task, but it got easier over time.

“The challenge was outdoors, especially in Corpus Christi. We have such a windy area, it’s so hard to keep these balloons in one place, and without popping; and our high heat, and in the summer time. So, yes have had several challenges working outside. It’s all been learning through the experience that we’re having with it, and I feel like now we’ve gotten it to a perfection, to where we can go out there and do a setup in less than 30 minutes,” Ramirez said.

The duo never imagined balloons would become such a big part of their business. They started off as just a complement to the events they were hosting, and bloomed into a full-fledged part of their business, even increasing their weekday business, when they used to do most of their work on the weekends.

“With our balloon orders, now that we’re doing smaller helium bouquets, and things like that, we’ve actually got weekday business, where we’re actually delivering during the week,” Ramirez said.

The balloon business sustained Celebrations until COVID-19 restrictions relaxed. Now that some events are able to be hosted again; the duo's business is booming.

“In January, it just seemed like we were getting more phone calls, and now we’re completely booked again like we were prior. People are looking to get out, they’re tired of being at home now,” Ramirez said.

“Our wedding business actually picked up during COVID, so we were able to hold ceremonies here, and actually have some small receptions within our COVID restrictions,” Baxter said.

The sisters were even able to open a new venue, one in Kingsville, because they were getting so many orders outside of Corpus Christi.

“We were in Beeville, and Fal, Kingsville, Refugio, like everywhere you can name, we were delivering balloons,” Baxter said. “We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, at all. We thought we were just going to have a small shop there that was just going to be a pickup location, and it ended up just being a Celebrations #2.”

Baxter and Ramirez spend most of their time together, but since they are so close, working together is second nature to them.

“Working with my sister is great, it’s very challenging to give up every single weekend. We’ve been in business for six years, and literally, we’ve been here every single weekend for the last six years. But, working with my sister, we kind of work like a well-oiled machine now,” Ramirez said.

Celebrations by The Party Sisters can be found at 3636 S Alameda St. G in Corpus Christi, or at 307 E Kleberg Ave. in Kingsville.