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Peer Perspective: Sharon McClellan, A Super Party

Sharon McClellan

Owner, A Super Party 

Kingsport, Tennessee

After transitioning from dental hygienist to party storeowner, Sharon McClellan has gone from maintaining smiles to creating them. With just over a year under her belt as owner of a balloon-centric party store, McClellan reflects on her leap of faith.

What is the backbone of A Super Party?

Balloons are our main focus at our store. I would say they make up close to half of our sales. Besides larger events, many customers come in just for balloons, and most that buy other merchandise add balloon orders to their purchase. … We sell Halloween costumes, so October is our biggest and most profitable time of the year. We keep a couple aisles of props, wigs, accessories out year-round as we have local schools and theaters that support our business. We get lots of business from schools for spirit weeks and special days (100th day of school, career day, Dr. Seuss, etc).   

What is your customer service philosophy?

Customer service for sure sets us apart from big-box stores. We hear that again and again. That is my No. 1 quality I look for when interviewing is a friendly personality with a happy, upbeat attitude, and this has been successful. We greet every customer when they enter our store and offer help if needed. Whether it’s after a customer has been shopping and getting ideas, or if it’s a customer that has found us through our website or social media, we often get to be a part of their event planning. Some know exactly what they want, but many need help bringing all their ideas together and we enjoy that aspect. By doing delivery and setups, we have become familiar with most venues and can offer advice about the spacing when customers are planning bigger events.

We offer napkin printing that we do on our machine in the store. Having a customizable corner that we can personalize items there while the customer is shopping is definitely in my vision. We could do cake toppers, centerpieces, or personalize favors or T-shirts. I currently have a friend helping me with these items, so it’s a 24- to 48-hour turnaround on them. I’m hoping to add this in store by this summer.

Now that you have a year of being a party storeowner under your belt, how are you balancing that with being the mother of three daughters?

There have been many sacrifices and challenges in this first year, but God has provided exactly what we need just when we need it and my faith has grown tremendously. Planning and organization is critical to balancing everything. Each staff member has strengths that help our business and I’m learning to delegate some of my work based on their particular strengths. My husband and daughters have taken on a lot more responsibilities at home. I’m enjoying the business, and it’s exciting to see it grow, but I often remind myself of my priorities. God first, then my wonderful, supportive family. My girls are at such fun, exciting ages, that I’m blessed enough to have a wonderful staff that I can be at ballgames and activities and know the store is running in good hands. There is still a lot left to figure out, and I’m still working on finding that perfect balance, but I praise God for this opportunity and know He will keep carrying me through.

Look for more on A Super Party in the upcoming March/April issue of Party & Halloween Retailer.

Originally posted Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018

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