Tag Archives: Party Harty

Party Harty Parties On

In 1989, Sue Marshall opened a store across from what was then Grand Union.

For nearly 3 decades, Party Harty has been a hearty part of Westport’s business scene.

Marshall had spent 11 years in the fashion industry. But with 2 young daughters — ages 4 and 2 — she wanted to work closer to home.

Owning a retail store is hardly a party. But Marshall attracted loyal customers with a great mix of balloons, decorations, paper goods, candy, candles, pinatas, face make-up, wigs, custom party favors and invitations.

Before Halloween last year, a Party Harty customer posed with the Haunted Tree Man.

A key to success was customized service. You may not have known what you needed to make your graduation/anniversary/birthday/Halloween/bar mitzvah/prom-posal etc. celebration a success. Thankfully, Marshall and her hardly party-pooping staff did.

Jackie Marshall began working for her mom while still in college. She fell in love with the business. She’s still there.

But starting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 5), the Marshalls and their crack staff will be working a few doors down. Party Harty found a great location a few doors down. The new address is 578 Post Road East — next to BodyQuest, across from Terrain.

The Marshalls are placing a new emphasis on gift buying. There are Westport-themed items, and presents for every occasion.

Some of Party Harty’s Westport-themed gifts.

Party Harty invites everyone to celebrate their new home on Tuesday. They’re serving snacks, and offering tours of their new home.

In other words: It’s a party!

Jackie and Sue Marshall, in front of Party Harty’s new location.

Party Harty Battles Pop-Up

For 28 years, Party Harty has been a Westport favorite. They’re the go-to place for birthday supplies, graduation balloons, decorations for the holiday du jour: Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Memorial Day — you name it.

The next holiday is Halloween. And Party Harty is worried.

Before Halloween last year, a Party Harty customer posed with the Haunted Tree Man.

Before Halloween last year, a Party Harty customer posed with the Haunted Tree Man.

A temporary pop-up shop has opened not far away on the Post Road, at the site of a former furniture consignment store. It’s big; it’s bright orange — and it’s temporary.

“We give our heart and soul to the community to help celebrate Halloween,” Party Harty’s owner Susan Marshall — who admits it’s important to her bottom line — says.

She’s concerned about the precedent: that insta-stores will come and go, drawing customers while not contributing to the community in the long run.

Party Harty is part of Westport. They offer discounts to schools, town organizations, the library, non-profits and religious groups. They — like their next door neighbor Mitchells — are always ready to give a donation or buy a program book ad.

“Give us a chance,” Marshall says. “Don’t assume that a ‘Halloween Store’ will offer anything more than we do. We’ll be here year-round — and hope to continue in a community-minded way.”

Our Town Crier Gets An Upgrade

Back in the day, the Town Crier was Westport’s must-read, twice-weekly newspaper. It covered all the usual local stuff — politics, sports, entertainment — as well as lots that would never be in a paper today. (“New Folks in Town” described new arrivals’ jobs, hobbies and religions. Police Reports included stop sign violations. And Divorce Reports cited names and reasons: abandonment, intolerable cruelty, whatever.)

The Town Crier is still around. And — though it has nothing to do with its predecessor, except the name — it is equally compelling reading.

Our Town Crier is Betsy Pollak’s website. It’s filled with business listings, upcoming events, classified ads and more — just like an old-fashioned newspaper. Of course, it’s a lot better looking. And much more interactive. (The calendar is searchable by day, week, month, and categories like “kids” or “music.”)

Our Town Crier - 2

Now, Our Town Crier has been upgraded. That’s good news for local business owners. Any store, restaurant, veterinarian, personal trainer, yoga instructor — you name it — can have his or her (or its) own page.

Non-profits are welcome too. The Westport Woman’s Club, Westport Historical Society and Homes With Hope are on there already.

And it’s absolutely free.

(The fine print: It’s free if you create it yourself — which is astonishingly simple. If you want Betsy to do it for you, there’s a small fee.)

On your business page, you can post info about hours of operation, sales, featured merchandise, new hires, photos, videos — whatever.

Our Town Crier is open to all Westport, Weston, Fairfield and Easton businesses. It’s limited to mom-and-pops though — locally owned, in other words. No big-box stores allowed!

Our Town Crier

Betsy’s upgrade has been accomplished with help from several Staples High  School interns. A couple of talented Westport women have helped too.

A lot of businesses don’t have their own website, Betsy notes. Our Town Crier becomes their web presence. Party Harty is a great example.

Click here for Our Town Crier. It’s a worthy successor to the newspaper of the same time.

Though without the divorce news.