Foreign workers start party business in Lab West
A new party-themed business in western Labrador is taking off after a group of friends from the Philippines got creative with balloon animals.
Aira Santelicies, a permanent resident in Canada, turned in her work permit for a home business permit to open up Balloon Creations in Labrador City.
"Two months ago, we got this thought of 'why don't make balloons?' " she said.
She made the leap from her home country to get work in Canada, but she was nervous about starting her own business.
"I worked full time over at a corner store — that's the job that brought me here," Santelicies said.
She enlisted the help of 10 friends to get the business going.
"At first we were afraid, 'cause this is our first time and we don't know [what to expect]," she said.
"Now we're starting to do big arches, and hopefully it will go good."
But the venture seems to be paying off. Santelicies said the community has been very supportive and business has been steady.
During a recent event in Wabush to thank people for their help when the town was evacuated during a major forest fire this summer, kids of all ages were asking for different balloon creations.
"It's fun, you know, seeing kids happy," Santelicies said.
"People are loving it, which we love, too. On Saturday we're going to make some sailing balloons for a wedding."
If there is enough demand, Santelicies said she plans to open up a store-front for Balloon Creations.
Santelicies is one of about 200 foreign workers living in western Labrador.