WICHITA — Kayme Pumphrey owns a successful employment agency in Chicago and had no plans to open another business until personal tragedy struck.
Pumphrey’s husband, Bryan, died unexpectedly a year ago.
“It’s been a rough year,” says Pumphrey, who is raising their children Addison, 6, and Madden, 4.
“Trying to sort of get through that is very hard without family,” Pumphrey says.
She decided to move home to her native Wichita, where family can help her.
“It just sort of seemed like the only option for us.”
The move did give her a business idea, though.
“It was very apparent to me that there were lots of luxuries that I was sort of used to having that we didn’t have here,” Pumphrey says.
She still owns the employment agency but also decided to open Blue Balloon, a hair salon and playroom for children that will open in the Shops at Tallgrass at 21st and Rock Road in late September.
“It’s actually done in honor or in memory of my husband,” Pumphrey says.
“It’s just a nice thing for me to be able to put my energy into and obviously carry on his memory for me and for our kids.”
Her husband’s favorite color was blue.
“It’s just very much him,” Pumphrey says. “And balloons go to heaven.”
The shop’s design will include a mural with photos of the couple’s 2006 trip to Africa and feature things reminiscent of the trip, such as a plane and two open-air vehicles for children to sit in as they have their hair done.
There will be iPads for kids to play with, which Pumphrey says “is a lot of fun and a great distraction tool.”
More than a third of the space will be a playroom. Pumphrey says she’ll also offer adult hair services so parents can let their children play while getting their hair done.
“It would be a luxury for some parents.”
Pumphrey also will use the play space for parties and classes, including music and art classes for children and education classes for parents. She says she’ll also offer things such as mommy and me manicure days or mommy massage days.
“It should be a really fun and pleasant experience,” Pumphrey says.
April Reed of Slawson Cos. handled the deal for the 1,400-square-foot space.
Pumphrey’s sister Brittney Mathew will help at the business.
“It’ll be nice to have some family support,” Pumphrey says.
She thinks her husband will be helping in his own way, too.
“I think with Bryan watching over us, it will be good,” she says. “We’ll be good.”