Wendy Wilborn-Shelton attracts attention when she’s headed down the road with part of her business in tow.
One of the services she offers through Good and Proper Events in Longview is a mobile bar built in a horse trailer. The fully stocked bar is visible to the outside. She also has a second mobile bar inside a camper, but it’s not as obvious.
“When I’m transporting (the horse trailer), I get a lot of phone calls when I’m pulling it down the street,” she said, adding that her thought is, “I’m not pulling it over to sell you alcohol.”
She was a bartender while in college to pay bills, but she herself doesn’t drink at all.
“I went to bartending school to figure it out, because I hate alcohol. I don’t even drink wine,” Wilborn-Shelton said.
She likes mixing drinks, though, and the atmosphere of being in a bar. She also realized that alcohol is served at most events. Her mobile bars allow her to provide that service.
Wilborn-Shelton lives in White Oak, where she graduated from high school, but her business is located in Longview at 105 E. Loop 281, Suite 8, in the shopping center behind Chili’s and next door to McAlister’s Deli.
She studied health care administration in college, attending Louisiana Tech and the University of Texas at Austin. She married her husband, Chris, in Houston, where she had worked in healthcare administration at Houston Methodist Hospital.
She had moved back to East Texas to help her mother in her business operating homes for people with developmental disabilities. That’s when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Good and Proper Events was born out of a need she had, and at a time when she was recovering from treatment for Stage III breast cancer.
She was trying to plan her now 4-year-old son Christopher's birthday party. She couldn’t find anyone to help, and that gave birth to her event planning and party business.
“I was at home and needed something to do,” she said, adding, “I like kids’ parties."
Good and Proper Events offers tent and teepee parties for children and teens, balloon decorations, table and chair rentals, backyard movie rentals, vinyl and T-shirt supplies and a photo booth, in addition to the mobile bars.
A variety of packages are available with the mobile bars, a beer and wine package, for instance, and a signature cocktail can be created for special events.
In addition to weddings and parties, Wilborn-Shelton’s event planning services recently had her helping with the White Oak ISD Education Foundation’s scholarship banquet, and she stayed busy with graduation events in May.
“We just purchased this new, white bounce house (like one Khloé Kardashian had at her birthday party that looks like a castle). It’s gone viral ... It’s booked through July," Wilborn-Shelton said.
Her business was based at her house at first, but she outgrew the space.
“I did have to build it up. It really took off when I got a brick and mortar store, because I was visible to the community. It was easier that way,” she said.
Event planning came naturally to her so she attended classes in Houston and Atlanta to learn how to make the elaborate balloon creations often featured at her events.
She appreciates that owning her own business allows her to set her hours and determine how busy she wants to be. She can attend T-ball games without worrying about punching a clock.
“It really was good when I was taking treatment that I didn’t have to go to work,” Wilborn-Shelton said.
Her son frequently goes with her to the store during the day. Her husband, Chris, is part of her “wonderful support system,” along with her parents.
Still, there are challenges to owning a business.
“You do have to have tough skin in this profession as a woman, as an African-American woman,” she said.
Wilborn-Shelton has six employees who are as good as she is, she said, describing them as part of her support team, too.
“I think you just have to stay true to your craft and what you know,” she said. “I’m a lover of people, and I think you just have to treat people right. Do the right things for people and the right things will always fall in line for you.”