The Story of Tip Top's Hot Air Balloon

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

On a nice blue-sky day, I walked into Tip Top with owner Cade Archuleta standing at the counter. I had been meaning to ask him about Tip Top's hot air balloon logo after having seen a black-and-white photo at Three Castle Antiques that sparked my interest. It was a July 4th photo of the Schilansky-Rubenstein building, the current home of Tip Top and Three Castle Antiques. In the window was a hot air balloon advertisement. 

"It made so much sense," said David Downs, owner of Three Castle Antiques, saying that offering views of Thomas from a tethered hot air balloon would not have been uncommon on festival and celebratory occasions like the 4th of July.  

"It was so serendipitous," said Cade, because before using the hot air balloon as Tip Top's logo, he had no idea about the photo of his building. "It was almost like it was meant to happen," Cade said.

Before opening, Cade, along with Carrie Archuleta, Seth Pitt, and Nathan Baker, sat down to discuss a name and a logo that would represent their shop.

Cade said he wanted something that would denote a high quality product because "we knew we wanted to use the best products from small businesses." He also liked the old-meets-new vibe that adds a sense of continuity to a business. 

Cade said he remembered riding around in his grandfather's old "green machine," and his grandfather would always say that the car was in "tip top shape." He knew at that moment that "Tip Top" would be the name of the business. From there, the group played around with logo ideas. The idea of a hot air balloon fell out of the sky, so to speak. It had a classic feel and represented their growth and creativity as a business.

Photo credit to Tip Top

Photo credit to Tip Top

Cade shared that he went walking on Front Street seven years ago with his one-year-old son. "Back then, you could walk through this building." He pointed to the door behind the kid's table, saying that he walked through it years ago and looked around. "It was creepy," he said, but Tip Top has since transformed.

Serendipity and bridging the past with the present are two parts of what has made Tip Top a staple of Thomas and a vibrant space that brings people together.