Local Entrepreneurs Thrive in Tough Economy

February 13, 2013

On Monday, entrepreneurs Mike and Mindi Gliatti of Bella Balloons announced the purchase and expansion plans of Express Delivery Services, Inc, and the formation of a third party logistics company, Ship Express, LLC.   In the past months, the companies, along with the Gliatti’s aviation tour business, Bella Balloons Hot Air Balloon Company have moved into a single building at 211 Walnut Street, Lebanon, Ohio.

"The hot air balloon ride business opened in 2007, and has been very successful, growing each year.  We love aviation and have flown with thousands of folks celebrating everything in life from birthdays, proposals, anniversaries, to people just completing their "bucket list".   Bella is in its 6th season. We were looking to expand with another small business and started looking 2 years ago", said Mike Gliatti.

For 2 years, Bella Balloons was storing at Warehouse Services, Plus, which was also the home of Express Delivery Services, owned Elijah and Cheryl Rapp.  While the Gliatti's were researching local businesses for sale, the Rapp's were quietly looking for the right buyer to sell their very successful business they created and led since 1997. 

A casual, by chance, conversation between both parties last year changed it all.  Many more discussions ensued, and a deal was formalized late in 2012.   

"We couldn't be more excited.  Since purchasing the company, we've added new customers, 3 new full time employees, and bought 2 more tractor trailers.  We have 15 trucks moving across the U.S. and Canada now.  When we were evaluating businesses for sale, Express has it all: world class safety & reputation, professional & skilled people, well-maintained equipment, and a solid, growing, customer base.  We will add 2-3 more positions in 2013 and continue a controlled growth strategy for several years."

Express Delivery Services, Inc is an over-dimensional tractor trailer flatbed trucking company which also operates conventional semis, and stake bed trucks.  The brokerage, Ship Express, LLC, enables the Express "group" to have the legal authority to ship smaller freight loads or entire truckloads on partner carriers, thus providing a full-service logistics system.   

When asked if Bella Balloons would be a lesser focus, Gliatti said, "Oh, not at all.  We've actually added a year-round,  full-time office manager to coordinate flight scheduling and the gift certificate demand.  The common ground of both companies is a real commitment to safety and superior customer service."

ABOUT Express Delivery Services, Inc - Founded in 1997, Express Delivery Services, Inc, and Ship Express, LLC (2012) operate logistics services across the United States and Canada.  Express owns 12 company trucks and leases 3 owner operator semis.  Express has 18 employees, and can be contacted at 513-934-4078.  The office is located at 211 Walnut Street, Lebanon, OH, 45036

ABOUT Bella Balloons - Founded in 2006, Bella Balloons is a hot air balloon company providing ride charters, corporate logo balloon advertising, and tethered balloon rides for events.  Flight operations are conducted year-round by FAA Commercial Pilots from various locations near Dayton and Cincinnati.   Fares for this 3-hour experience, 1-hour flight begin at $179 per person and include a champagne toast and souvenir glass champagne flute following each flight.  Reservations can be made or Gift Certificates can be purchased at, by calling the Bella office at 513-932-3552, or visiting us at 211 Walnut Street, Lebanon, OH, 45036.