East Bay Business Times

Party America Whoops It Up

The celebration has started at Party America, the party goods chain that reported a gaudy 86 percent increase in sales for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31.

Total sales at the privately held Alameda company came in at more than $160 million. Same-store sales increases were a bit more sedate, though still up a healthy 6.6 percent over the previous fiscal year.

The strong sales increase is attributed to the company’s purchase of the Paper Warehouse chain in the Midwest in 2003, as well as the acquisition of Party Concepts in late 2004. Company officials also reported growth in profit, though they did not offer details.

Purchase of the two stores by parent company PA Acquisition Corp has transformed Party America from a regional retailer in the West to a 290-store chain with a presence in 45 states.

It is now the second-largest such retailer in the nation behind main rival Party City Corp. of Rockaway, N.J., which has nearly double the number of locations.

Party America receives the first “Retailer of the Year” award at the National Party Retailing Awards gala in Chicago, an event sponsored by American Greetings, Hallmark and Greetings, Etc.

Marty Allen is nominated and becomes a finalist for the prestigious Ernst & Young Award for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Party America completes ten consecutive years of growth and increased profits under the leadership of Marty Allen.

Party America makes the list at number 32 of the 100 fastest growing companies in northern California three years in a row, clocking a growth increase of 180%. Amazingly, it is also the fifth largest company in sales on the list.

Greetings, Etc., establishes a Party Retailing Hall of Fame to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to the industry. Marty Allen is the first to be inducted. Editor Ms. Krassner points to Mr. Allen’s creativity and leadership in growing the Party America chain from just a few dozen stores into an industry powerhouse by upgrading in-store and corporate technology, overhauling the inventory system and improving customer service through better employee training.