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Litin's Party Value, a Minneapolis party supply store that began as a wholesaler of paper goods in the late 1940s, is closing, owner Ned Litin said.

Starting this week, items will be significantly marked down as part of a total sell-off of the family-owned company's inventory. Buyers will receive a variety of discounts off products like party and foodservice supplies and decorations.

The company's lease for its warehouse and store at 913 Plymouth Av. N. expires in August, after which time the company will officially cease operations, Litin said.

"A lot of sadness on our customer side," said Litin, who took full ownership of the family's party supply business in 1999.

Litin's father, Don Litin, started Litin Paper Co. in 1947 as a wholesaler of paper products for companies in shipping and packaging, janitorial, foodservice and office products. The family opened the warehouse to the public in 1966. Ned Litin started working on the party store in 1977. While he had commercial clients, consumer sales at Litin's Party Value was the company's main source of income until the pandemic, when in-person gatherings came to a halt.

Funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program and demand for toilet paper and paper towels at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak kept the business afloat, Litin said. Pent-up demand for social gatherings led to a bump in sales in 2021, with people relying on Litin's Party Value to decorate their homes and community spaces for graduations, weddings, anniversaries and birthday parties, he said.

But as more people grew comfortable ordering supplies online through larger retail brands, and competition for wholesale contracts grew more fierce, profits at Litin's dropped significantly.

Litin's Party Value is closing after 74 years in business in Minneapolis, as seen on Monday.
Litin's Party Value is closing after 74 years in business in Minneapolis, as seen on Monday.

Renée Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

"It absolutely killed the business," he said.

Litin contemplated selling the company, but when his broker advised he would only receive an offer for his inventory, he chose to stay open.

"This way, I can continue to pay my rent, keep my employees employed, and keep servicing my customers," said Litin, who employs seven people.

The store's last hurrah was helping customers through one of the busiest party seasons of the year.

"I was looking out into the future and said, 'If I can just hold on through one more graduation season, once we got past that point, we would start the store-closing sale,'" he said.

In March 2023, Litin injured himself in a skiing accident. At 69, he'll use his new-found free time for rehabilitation.

"The thing that endeared us to our customers were not only did we have fun, great products, but we really went out of our way to take good care of our customers," Litin said. "That extra element really allowed me to survive through a lot of different business evolutions that added more and more competition to our fight to survive."

Correction: This story has been udpated with more detail regarding the ownership of the business over time.