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Spokane’s Party Palace closing after 33 years; pandemic hastens decision to end store’s run

UPDATED: Wed., May 13, 2020

This 2018 photo shows Patty Short, left, and Party Palace owners Michelle and Dan Duncan. The Duncans will close their business at 2607 N. Division St. after nearly 33 years in operation. (Courtesy of Michelle Duncan)
This 2018 photo shows Patty Short, left, and Party Palace owners Michelle and Dan Duncan. The Duncans will close their business at 2607 N. Division St. after nearly 33 years in operation. (Courtesy of Michelle Duncan)

Since 1987, Spokane shoppers had a place to get costumes for ’70s parties, balloon arrangements for graduations and decorations for all seasons at the Party Palace.

But owners Dan and Michelle Duncan have decided to pull the plug after nearly 33 years at their location at 2607 N. Division St. After one big sale to liquidate their remaining inventory – once they are allowed to have customers in the store – the business will close.

“This COVID thing was the icing on the cake,” Michelle Duncan said. “We were trying to last another year. But, the timing is right. We’ve had a great run.”

The Duncans thought they had a deal to sell the building in March, but the buyers had trouble getting contractors to finalize plans since the pandemic stay-at-home orders shut down all work.

“The deal fell through,” she said. “Now the property is for sale or lease.”

The store is currently taking phone orders for balloon arrangements and curbside delivery, but the Duncans already have sold the costumes that once made it a go-to destination whenever a high school senior needed to dress up as a super hero.

“Graduation was huge, especially with balloons,” Duncan said. “St. Paddy’s Day is big, but we didn’t have that this year. When we were fully stocked a couple years ago, we were at our height. If we didn’t have it, you were not going to find it.”

The store, which survived battles with national chains, also saw sales suffer with customers simply ordering their items online from other vendors.

“Some people will buy balloons online and come here and ask, ‘Will you fill them?’ Of course we did,” Duncan said. “We have so many loyal and longtime customers that don’t know we are going to close. I just feel bad. We are going to miss them.”

She credited her parents, the late Glenn and Pat Johnson, for coming up with the idea and setting up Michelle and Dan Duncan with the store.

“We wouldn’t be anywhere without our parents and their work ethic,” she said. “They were entrepreneurs.”

As soon as Gov. Jay Inslee upgrades the statewide order to allow customers inside the store, the Duncans will truck out remaining inventory and price it to move.

“We have Halloween and holiday decor. We have stuff for Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and everything,” she said. “We’ll bring it all back out for sale.”

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