Belinda Short has never been an artist.
But her newly discovered painting talent has helped her start a business out of her Tyler home.
Celebration Yard Candy LLC is a lawn greeting business that offers seven-day rentals of large wooden, hand-painted signs, such as the nearly 6-foot-tall stork, which can be personalized with a newborn’s name, date of birth, weight and height, she said.
“It’s really just a nice welcome home for the mom and baby from the hospital,” Mrs. Short said, adding that it is also a nice way to show off a new baby to the neighborhood.
The Shorts deliver and install the signs and pick them up seven days later.
Mrs. Short, 39, worked in sales in the private club and hospitality industry for 16 years. She grew up in Dallas, attended Oklahoma Baptist University and moved to Tyler in 2005, working as membership director at Hollytree Country Club for about a year before being promoted to its corporate office. Eagle Golf in Dallas manages Hollytree Country Club and she worked there as vice president of sales and marketing for five years until the company downsized and she lost her job in March.
About the same time, she got the idea to start Celebration Yard Candy. Her 11-year-old niece in Dallas received a lawn greeting for her birthday and she was ecstatic, Mrs. Short said.
The oversized signs used to announce a birthday, birth or other event, are a team effort. Mrs. Short’s father, Larry Foster, of Garland, brings her ideas to life by cutting the wood into shapes, Mrs. Short paints each sign and her husband adds items for yard installation.
“It’s very simple, which is nice,” Short said of installing the signs.
Short, 44, works as the Northeast Texas representative for a medical device biologics company. Before that, he worked in pharmaceuticals and has been in sales since 1993, after earning his master’s degree at The University of Texas at Tyler.
Mrs. Short’s sister introduced her and her husband after her sister married one of Short’s Robert E. Lee High School classmates. After meeting in 2003, they married in 2006.
“I think it’s going to be a neat, small business and something that Tyler did not have,” Short said.
“There’s a niche that can be filled. It’s a cool small business opportunity, especially for a side business.”
For birthdays, there is a cupcake, stacked birthday cake and prince or princess crowns, as well as 4-foot-11-inch tall numbers for milestone birthdays and a vulture hovering over a tombstone that reads “R.I.P.
Here Lies Your Youth” for “over the hill” birthdays, she said.
“This is just what we’ve started with,” Mrs. Short said. “We’re really excited to hear people’s ideas … to figure out what’s next on the cutting list for dad.”
Painting the signs usually takes Mrs. Short a couple of days and she uses bright colors to detail them.
“I’ve never really been an artist,” Mrs. Short said. She has always enjoyed bright, whimsical fun looks, but the last time she painted something was football banners as a cheerleader in high school.
She said they brainstormed to come up with ideas on what they thought would be popular for all ages — from 0 to 99, she said. “We try to make them fun so they would attract people’s attention,” Mrs. Short said of the color and detail she uses when painting the signs.
Mrs. Short said they just delivered a large gumball machine sign for a 42-year-old woman’s birthday. “You don’t have to be five to want a gumball machine,” she said.
Someone living out of town can order a sign to surprise someone in Tyler.
“This can be a fun surprise,” Mrs. Short said. “We can do (install) it late at night so they wake up surprised and we leave a personalized card at the front door.”
The Shorts install signs at the following zip codes: 75701, 75703 and 75707 as well as the Flint, Bullard and Whitehouse areas. They also will deliver to other close areas for an extra delivery fee. Renting the signs ranges from $75 to $90. They also have started doing T-shirts as a gift that can be left behind after the sign is removed.
As a grand opening celebration, the Shorts held a private open house at their home Thursday to show family, friends and area businesses their new products. They have been testing the signs on how they hold up in weather and have worked with local businesses for the products used to make the signs. Mrs. Short said she also has networked with lawn greeting businesses throughout the country and local business people for help in starting the company.
For more information, call 903-535-9661 or www.celebrationyardcandy.com.