The only party store on Whidbey Island is shutting its doors after 11 years in business.
Robyn and Orin Kolaitis, owners of the Whidbey Party Store in Oak Harbor, announced to The News-Times on April 14 that they were calling it quits.
Robyn Kolaitis said she and her husband opened the store back in 2012 because they saw a need in the community. At the time, the only party store on the island had closed three years earlier.
The store managed to survive and stay open through the COVID-19 pandemic, which Kolaitis attributed to a loyal customer base.
“We were proud we came out of the pandemic as well as we did,” she said. “But I just can’t do it all by myself.”
Kolaitis still has kids at home and said she can’t be at the store all the time. She said a lack of staffing and her desire to spend more time with her family were major factors in the decision to close the store and retire from retail.
“It’s not fair to my customers to have to close the store every time I have a baseball game on a Saturday,” she said.
Kolaitis said her clientele comes from all over the island. The store has always specialized in kids’ parties, so she sees a lot of military families. Balloons are the most popular item. At one point, she had 1,000 different styles of foil balloons.
The store will be open and filling balloon orders until June 10, which is graduation day for Coupeville and Oak Harbor. There is still ample graduation party decor.
After the store closes, the nearest party supply shop for Whidbey Island residents will be Party City in Burlington.
Kolaitis described her customers over the years as “wonderful,” even in response to the store closing.
“As a business owner in Oak Harbor, people can be very negative, especially online,” she said. “And everyone was so sweet and so nice and I just really appreciated that.”
The Whidbey Party Store is open Tuesday through Friday 12:30-5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until June 10.