As a “balloon girl” years ago at Alin Party Supply, Heather Ocampo remembers the line being out the door on Saturdays with people purchasing balloons for their weekend celebrations. Back then, the balloon department was a little booth tucked away in the back of the store behind a wall.
“We would just start blowing up balloons as fast as we could,” Ocampo recalls of those days. “You have to get into that rhythm where you are blowing it up, tying it up, putting the ribbon on.”
Despite its large footprint, people assume Alin Party Supply, at 4139 Woodruff Ave., has always been a corporate entity. In actuality, it has always been a local, family-owned operation.
In 1972, a woman named Nila opened up her own paper goods store; but, she didn’t think that people would flock to a business owned and operated by a woman. Therefore, Nila flipped her name around and called her business “Alin Paper Company,” which sold paper goods and stationery items in bulk.
It wasn’t until the mid-80s that the business turned into a full-fledged party store. Twenty years later, Ocampo became the store’s director of operations.
“We are so much more than a party supply store,” Ocampo said. “Anything you can probably think of you can get here, whether it’s a gift, wrapping paper, or decorations...you can get the whole party here.”
In a world flooded by online consumerism, Ocampo believes that it is nice to visit a store and engage with other people face-to-face.
“Here at Alin Party Supply, you’re going to be able to talk to someone, get ideas from them and receive excellent customer service,” Ocampo said.
Alin Party Supply also operates like a family, which customers will notice and become a part of with each visit.
“Because a third of our employees have been here for over 15 years, with the longest-serving for 39 years, we’re more like a family than just employees. Everybody takes pride in working here because they feel like it’s their business too.”
The next big event on the calendar for Alin Party Supply is graduation season.
“The graduation department gets crazy busy this time of year because you can get everything here — graduation gifts, candy leis, tableware and more,” Ocampo said.
The next time you walk into Alin Party Supply, you might see a balloon girl in the corner going through the rhythms of making balloons. You’ll know you’re in good hands, because Alin Party Supply is one big, happy family worth celebrating with.
Learn more at their website: http://www.alinpartysupply.com/