Whatever state the economy is in, the party must go on. That's the thinking of Doug Padgett and Jeff Bundy, co-owners of Party World in Peoria.

Whatever state the economy is in, the party must go on.


That's the thinking of Doug Padgett and Jeff Bundy, co-owners of Party World in Peoria.


"We didn't let the (national) economy stop us," said Bundy, a network consultant for the Clifton Gunderson accounting firm in Peoria. "The economy here in Peoria is strong. We expect that to carry us through," he said.


Padgett, formerly with the American Red Cross in Peoria and the store's full-time manager, was confident enough in the concept to invest much of his life savings into the business.


"People will always celebrate the major events of their lives. Besides, the American economy is built on holidays. Look at all the attention on shopping for Christmas," he said.


Economic concerns might even prove to stimulate sales, said Padgett. "With our range of goods, we can accommodate any budget. We know that people have to watch every penny these days, so we think that our discount prices will help offset consumer worries," he said.


Located in University Plaza, site of another new business, Home Choice Furniture, Padgett said the location works well. "Two other party stores have closed: Celebrations by Northwoods Mall and Tepper's out on North University Street. We look at that as an opportunity for us," he said.


While there are other stores that offer party goods in the area, Padgett and Bundy believe they have a variety of supplies to get them noticed.


"We have an entire room just for wedding supplies with invitations, table displays and dinner items. You can go with the white cups and spoons if you're on a tight budget or you can pick out other goods," said Padgett.


Bundy pointed out the wedding room's table and chairs. "(Customers) can sit in here and pick out what they want," he said, noting the catalogs provided.


The store's target market is women from 18 to 45 in age, said Padgett, adding, "The women usually take care of these events."


"Our slogan is that we have what you want for your next party," he said.


While Party World dresses up for seasonal holidays like Halloween and Christmas, that next party may be a birthday or anniversary, said Padgett.


"What sets us apart is that we provide name brands at a good price. You'll find SpongeBob. Hannah Montana and High School Musical items here," he said.


"We've only been open a week and we're still expanding some of our lines. We're listening to our customers. We added cowboy hats for a lady working on a western-theme party while another customer wanted Incredible Hulk items for her son's birthday party," said Padgett.


Party World also provides cards for almost every occasion, said Bundy. "We've got all the birthday lines plus everything from over-the-hill to baby cards," he said.


"And all the cards are 99 cents," said Padgett.


Look for personal attention for the present. "There's just the two of us right now. We'll be hiring more once business picks up," said Padgett.


Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday.


Steve Tarter can be reached at (309) 686-3260 or starter@pjstar.com