Port Moody is about to get a whole lot duller.
Patrick and Cindy Gorman are retiring, and they are literally the life of the city’s party scene.
Sometime this July, the Gormans will close the door of their It’s My Party shop on St. Johns Street for the last time and stroll into a sunset of enjoying celebrations rather than helping others put them on.
The building is set to be converted into a medical centre.
It’s My Party has been Port Moody’s source for balloons, streamers, boas, fright wigs and — once — a cake large enough for somebody to jump out of for 17 years.
Before that the shop was located in Burquitlam for 13 years.
Patrick Gorman said he can’t even calculate how many parties they’ve helped populate with loot bags and piñatas over those 30 years.
But, he added, it’s sure been fun.
The irony of closing their shop just as the appetite for partying begins to come back after two years of pandemic trepidation isn’t lost on the Gormans.
In fact, at the height of the public health crisis, they had to shutter the store for three months because there were no parties, no real causes for celebrating.
Instead, they fulfilled orders to populate lawns with pink flamingos and other comical garden knickknacks because that was a safe, socially distanced way to mark milestones.
Since then the business has steadily returned.
Although, Patrick said, the pandemic has left a lasting mark on the party scene.
Gatherings are often smaller, more intimate, as people continue to be cautious about large gatherings. And they’re not holding out to celebrate big occasions like decade birthdays or precious metal anniversaries; rather, they’re just as excited to bring together friends and family for a 42nd birthday or 17th anniversary.
“There’s a greater appreciation for celebrating,” Patrick said.
There’s also more consideration for putting time and energy into planning for unique party experiences. Almost every party now seems to have a theme, Cindy said, which puts the pressure on them to have items on the shop’s shelves and racks to bring those concepts to life.
That’s why there’s a pair of plastic faux cacti hanging out in the foyer to add that frontier touch to a western party, or glittering disco balls to bring the 70s back to life.
The Gormans said they suspect social media has had an influence on how people party.
Events with themed costumes and decorations generate memorable moments for Instagram and customers often come into the shop looking for the items to create centrepieces they’ve seen on Pinterest.
But one thing that’s been a constant through the years has been the smiles on everyone’s face when they enter the store.
“They come in here happy,” Patrick said. “They’re excited about what they’re doing.”
And will there be a big party for the Gorman’s retirement?
“We’ll see,” said Cindy, smiling.