When I first heard that a big old chain like Red Balloon Company was taking over my beloved Rainbow Grocery space, I was pretty bummed in that "There goes the neighborhood" kind of way. I LOVE my neighborhood. It is our little happy corner of a big city that still has the good parts of the small town vibe.
With more bars opening and condo developments tearing down other hipster hangouts further down the hill, it is slowly losing some of it's charm. Parking is getting harder to come by, and at Beer'O'Clock you get more and more drunken weirdos howling at the moon. But, for the most part, it is still full of friendly familiar faces and one of the coolest video stores in the city. So, not all is lost.
My tune has changed about the Red Balloon. I will admit, I spent most of the last year pretending it wasn't there. I have walked past it and not allowed myself to be tempted by the curious looking gag gifts and colorful children's toys. I just stuck my nose in the air and walked on by. In my head it was a show of solidarity for the good old Rainbow and all of the friendly faces that used to work there. I loved them, dreads, wheatgrass and all. I mean, where am I supposed to get my fresh squeezed Apple and Beet juice now?!?
About a week ago, a million things all went wrong at the same time and I found myself in a horrible position. I was hosting a birthday party and I still had not purchased anything that needed to be purchased before said party. I had no time to make the trek out to any of my next closest options, I had to make due in my own neighborhood. At first I was going store to store. I actually had completely forgotten Red Balloon was even there.
I was coming up empty and getting desperate, then I remembered the cool little shop that carries neat little Mexican imports on 15th. I thought it could not hurt to try.
On my way there, I realized I had completely overlooked the most obvious place, the big giant party store right under my nose! The Red Balloon Co!! I was desperate and I was running out of time. It was a very now or never moment.
I went through the giant glass doors with big cheery balloon bunches bookending them . I had already convinced myself that they would only have things for kid's parties or else it would all be extremely over priced. The more I looked around it became clear to me that this was not the case. The store was full of things for people of every age, and shockingly it was all very reasonably priced! I managed to get everything I needed and then some! I even spent about $20 less than I thought I was going to!
So, I am officially a Red Balloon convert. I know it is late coming, but welcome to the neighborhood. I'm glad to have you. (Now if you would just start serving freshly squeezed apple and beet juice we'd be 100% square.)
You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons
With the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message
"Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by