California CEO Magazine

Party America’s Turn Around Success

Marty Allen, CEO of Party America pulled the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in only six months.

Marty Allen CEO

In 1996, Marty Allen, who is known for his ability to turn companies around, took control of a failed merger between Party America and Party World. Allen who assumed Party America’s president and CEO title, successfully took the company in and out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in six months from July through December 1997, making it one of the shortest Chapter 11 restructurings in business.

Since that time Alameda-based Party America has posted five consecutive years of sales growth and profit. Today, the company is approaching $50 million in sales, with 500 employees, and continues to make waves in its industry.

At the end of 2003, the 37-store party supply retailer acquired Paper Warehouse Inc. Paper Warehouse had filed Chapter 11 under bankruptcy protection, and U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the tentative agreement for the corporation to sell its 62 stores; its subsidiary, Paper Warehouse and Party Universe names to 51 franchises in 22 states; and the website to Party America.

This was an important acquisition for Party America, because the company will now rank among the largest party supply chains in the nation.

“We saw so many mutual benefits by joining these two companies, the purchase for us really made sense,” said Party America CEO Allen. “Our inventory and number of locations will now make us a $150 million dollar company with over 135 stores.” It also gives Party America, which had solely a west coast presence prior to the acquisition, national presence and recognition.

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.