Spotlight On: Shindigs & Celebrations
Purchase of longtime party business brings family closer together
As the old saying goes, a family that works together stays together. Well, maybe that’s not quite the adage, but quality, productive time spent with loved ones is almost always a good thing. That’s certainly been the case for the Vaught family of Nashville.
Sandra and Wayne Vaught have found enjoyable, albeit demanding, second careers as the owners of Shindigs & Celebrations, a party supply and balloon retailer in the Green Hills area of the Music City. Buying the retail business has allowed Wayne, a former UPS employee, and Sandra, who previous worked in the accounting field, to spend days together. To boot, the party business has been a perfect fit for their 25-year-old daughter, Kelley.
Buying Shindigs & Celebrations wasn’t exactly a leap of faith for the Vaughts, as Sandra was the bookkeeper for 14 years for previous owner Mitch Taub, who started the business in 1991.
“I was very excited to own my own business, especially one that I was already familiar with and felt confident that I could help grow even further,” Sandra said. Wayne added: “I wanted to come out of an early retirement and five into something new and challenging. I was encouraged by the fact that this was a business with a successful 23-year track record.”
While Kelley wasn’t originally part of the motivation to buy Shindigs, her experience in event planning and communications has made her a valuable addition. Kelley majored in communications at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, while also focusing on public relations and graphic design, and had internships that involved event planning. She may even take over the business in the future. (Quick Q&A with Kelley Vaught)
Balloons account for about 50 percent of revenue, not to mention about 80 percent of their workweek, Sandra Vaught quipped. Other popular categories include plastics, solid paper products and “pretty much everything in our Caspari aisle,” Vaught said. “Everything in our store can be mixed and matched depending on the customer’s preference and budget. Say someone is planning a big event and fell in love with a pattern on our Caspari napkins, they can always pair the napkins with solid plates to keep the cost down.”
The store also carries several lines of designer greeting cards, including Avanit, Borealis, Design Design, Recycled Paper and Shade Tree. “We have great overall sales and love reading the new cards as they come in,” Vaught said. “One of our favorite things is to hear people chuckling in the back of the store as they pick out the perfect card for their occasion.”
The biggest revenue-producing holidays for Shindigs and Celebrations are Halloween and New Year’s. With Nashville being such a growing destination location, out-of-towners throwing bachelorette parties also is a major source of revenue.
The Vaughts rely on the store’s longtime presence in the community and loyal clientele over advertising, although they are establishing a stronger social media and online presence, thanks in no small part to Kelley.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that Shindigs has always been a one-stop shop for anyone who is planning a party, or is attending one and needs a last minute gift or greeting card,” Sandra said. “We are the only store in town that offers custom napkin printing and balloon deliveries. However, above all of this, the biggest blessing in owning Shindigs is that it has helped our family grow even closer.”
The Vaughts are looking at more in-store events, including planning a “Sip and Shop” as part of a 25th anniversary celebration for Shindigs & Celebrations this summer.
At a Glance
- Where: Shindigs & Celebrations, 2000 Warfield Dr., Nashville, Tennessee
- Store Size: 3,000 square feet
- Staff: Three full-time employees (Wayne, Sandra and Kelley Vaught) and two part-time staffers
- What They Sell: Balloons, party supplies, costume accessories, custom invitations, greeting cards, specialty items
- Online: www.shindigsandcelebrations.com, Facebook and Twitter @ShindigsStore