Mother, daughter balance three businesses during pandemic, share messages of hope

Mother and daughter balancing three businesses during the pandemic, amid sharing messages of hope

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - During these uncertain times, some families are doing all they can to survive.

For one family, that means balancing three businesses at one time during the pandemic.

Laura Inkpen is the owner of Yard Greetings on the Grand Strand. The company specializes in celebratory signs for all occasions for families, including birthdays, graduations and child births.

But Inkpen said there’s a bigger message behind these signs: hope.

“I’m a single mom,” Inkpen said. “This is a way we can bring joy to all businesses.”

In addition to the Yard Greetings, Inkpen also owns a pet sitting company called M.I.Critter Sitters and Balloons on the Grand Strand.

Inkpen said she started the pet sitting business first. Then the pandemic hit and business came to halt from people not traveling, which she said left her unemployed for nearly two months.

“I didn’t have any money coming in and of course I had to file for unemployment,” Inkpen said.

Unemployment is something thousands of residents across South Carolina experienced throughout the COVID-19 emergency.

The S.C. Department of Employment & Workforce reports that the unemployment rate in the state for March 2020 jumped from 3.0% to 12.2% in April. During that same time period, Horry County’s unemployment rate increased from 3.9% to 22.5%.

The latest DEW data reports, as of December 2020, the unemployment rate for the state is 4.6%. It’s 6.1% in Horry County.

That data shows the unemployment tide has turned for many residents, including Laura Inkpen.

“I like to be productive,” Inkpen said.

After being unemployed a few months, Inkpen and her 13-year-old daughter joined forces to start the yard greeting and the balloon company.

She said in addition to staying afloat, their goal with the yard and ballon businesses is to bring their services to families looking to spread joy to their loved ones during a pandemic.

One example, the company just provided balloons to a nursing home for Valentine’s Day.

Inkpen and her daughter also created a yard sign for a veteran on his 90th birthday.

“It was fun,” said Nancy, Inkpen’s daughter. “It makes us happy that other people can be happy.”

Inkpen said she’d didn’t intentionally plan to have three businesses right now during the pandemic but she’s excited she was able to launch them.

She’s hoping their story encourages more people in the community to not give up on their dreams during these trying times.

“Look, life is about adapting, so when we’re thrown different cards we just roll with it,” Inkpen said. “This is just something we’ve [put] together and it’s a positive thing. Right now, that’s what people need.”

For more information about Yard Greetings on the Grand Strand or the additional companies, contact Inkpen on the business websites or Facebook page.

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