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Sunday November 29th, 2020 2:58PM

Small Business Spotlight: Party Shop Emporium

By Lauren Hunter Multimedia Journalist

Halloween may only be a few days away, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to buy a costume! 

In addition to Halloween costumes, accessories and decor, the owners of Party Shop Emporium in Gainesville offer plenty of other supplies for special gatherings year-round.

Neil Clark, the owner and operator of Party Shop Emporium, said that he took over the business in 2009 from his parents, who first opened the store in 1982.

Clark explained that his parents started small, offering products such as cards and a few party supplies, then adding in more party supplies and seasonal items as the years went by and the business grew.

“Business was growing every year and we just kept getting into more and more stuff,” said Clark. “Really mostly like party and costumes."

By the time Clark took over eleven years ago, Party Shop Emporium was in its current location on Pearl Nix Parkway and regularly offering seasonal items like Halloween accessories and Fourth of July decor. In addition, Party Shop Emporium continued to carry items for year-round events such as weddings, prom and baby showers.

Clark said that he has enjoyed running the store with continued support from his parents and his wife. He said that he is also thankful for loyal customers through the years.

“We have a lot of the same customers which is pretty amazing,” said Clark.

Certainly times have changed since 1982. Clark said that he has worked to keep Party Shop Emporium relevant by creating a website and offering products through platforms such as Amazon and Etsy.

He said that these online options have been especially helpful this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Because Party Shop Emporium is centered around offering supplies for celebrations, Clark said the business took a hit when the Center for Disease Control released guidelines limiting gatherings.

But despite the slowdown during a normally busy season for weddings, proms and graduations, Clark said that business has started to pick up now that postponed events are being rescheduled.

“We are seeing people coming in and getting married and we are really thankful for that,” he said. “A lot of that time of the year, October, November and December, is traditionally the tail end of wedding season and now this year it’s been kinda the start of wedding season.”

He said that sales for Halloween items have been much slower this year, as well, but that he still counts on the “die-hard” Halloween fans that will celebrate no matter what.

“They’re not gonna NOT celebrate somehow so people are still gonna be doing things…whether it’s not your traditional trick-or-treating but going to people’s driveways,” said Clark.

More information about Party Shop Emporium is on their website. They are located at 300 Pearl Nix Parkway in Gainesville for limited hours. Clark said that anyone who visits the store and mentions this story will receive a 25 percent discount on Halloween merchandise.

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  • Associated Tags: gainesville, Small Business Spotlight, Party Shop Emporium
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