Party City store means Kent County's citizens can get everything they need to throw great parties.
Last year's temporary Party City store scared up so much business over Halloween that company officials have decided to bring the business to Dover permanently. That short-term store, operating as Halloween City with merchandise just for that holiday, was one of the corporation's biggest successes in 2012, said Vic Shepherd, general manager of the new Party City, located in the North Dover Center. “Our Halloween City store last year was so well received we felt compelled to come here year-round” he said. Dover's population of young people and college students, government and military employees and seasonal influxes of racing fans, music festivals attendees and beach-goers seemed a perfect fit for the company, which operates more than 750 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, Shepherd said. Party City is part of Amscan Holdings Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of party goods, which allows it to offer conveniently priced costumes, accessories and disposable items such as colored paper plates, cups and other utensils necessary for a good party. “We carry what Walmart and Target and other places simply do not carry,” Shepherd said. The store offers popular Disney products and just about any children's favorite, from Dora the Explorer to Hello Kitty to Spongebob Squarepants, he said. Party City can provide everything needed for anyone wanting to dress up as a French Musketeer, a vampire or even Mr. Spock, Shepherd said. One item that's been catching on nationwide is the morph suit, a head-to-toe colored Spandex costume that's been described as being akin to wearing a body-sized woman's stocking. “People really get into that,” he said, adding that Party City stocks a full line of the form-fitting costumes in a number of eye-popping colors. The store also is unique in that if an item a shopper wants isn't on the shelf, it can be ordered online, with free delivery straight to the customer's home. Party City also offers a vast selection of helium-filled balloons for every occasion. “It's a huge business for us,” Shepherd said. “We'll bring in crews on Saturday mornings just to fulfill our balloon order for the day, as well as for taking care of walk-in orders. “Balloons are fun, and no one does them better than us.” In addition to costumes, makeup, wigs, home decorations and table settings in a multitude of colors, Party City also features a large selection of party favors and candy for any occasion. Just look for the giant gumball machine that directs people to the candy section, Shepherd said. The store offers bulk candies that can be divided up among party-goers or large bags of sweets to use in piņatas. Shepherd noted the store also offers locally-themed merchandise for sports fans and area schools. Anyone looking for graduation party supplies emblazoned with team logos for the Dover High Senators, Caesar Rodney Riders or other teams will find them at Party City. As can be expected, Party City's biggest season is Halloween, when at least one-third of the floor space is taken up with some of the wildest and weirdest merchandise that can be imagined. Items from plastic vampire's teeth to articulated skeletons and witches will line the shelves. Customers coming into Party City during different times of the year always will see something new every time they walk in the door. As time progresses from New Years to Valentine's to Independence Day to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the displays also will change to reflect the seasons, Shepherd said. That means shoppers always are guaranteed to find the newest and trendiest products, he said. “I think the biggest thing people are surprised about when they come in is that there is hardly any event we could possibly miss,” Shepherd said. Now open, Party City's operating hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The store may be reached by calling 674-5127.