NEW TIMES: Are people already raiding the store for New Year’s party gear?
DUTTON: Yeah, they’re starting to come in. We don’t really see them until after Christmas. But after that, it’s just a complete madhouse.
NEW TIMES: How does New Year’s Eve rank as a party holiday?
DUTTON: Halloween, graduation, New Year’s Eve, and Valentines Day are really busy for us. But of course Halloween outdoes them all by far. I would say New Year’s is probably equal to graduation as far as parties.
NEW TIMES: What are some of the most outrageous things people have sought for a party?
DUTTON: You name it. Everything from blow-up dolls to … whatever. But it’s a college town, so there are no limits to the stuff we see in here. I mean, we had a girl come in once wearing nothing but tassels and a G-string, who was going to a party. But the stuff that flies is piñatas, party napkins, smoke machines, popcorn machines. It seems there are more and more themed parties these days and we sell a lot of costumes all year.
NEW TIMES: As a party expert, what items are must-haves for any New Year’s party?
DUTTON: Noisemakers, hats, beer. But lately it’s not only been your traditional New Year’s stuff. There’re a lot of different themed parties that day, too.
NEW TIMES: Will you be open on New Year’s Eve or will you be partying?
DUTTON: We’ll be open until 10 p.m. It keeps us out of trouble. At 10 p.m. there’re still people looking for that last-minute thing. ∆