Apr 7, 2007
Sweet Sixteen

Don Sandlin, owner of Let’s Party, finds that his business is coming up roses these days – and that fragrant flower actually brought him to the party business. After graduating from Boise State University with an accounting degree, Don took a position as a financial analyst, where he developed a business plan with a co-worker in 1989.

“We negotiated deals with rose growers in California for fresh cut roses and sold them for $7.99 a dozen out of our store, called ‘Just Roses,'” he explained. “In 1992, I grew tired of the inherent problems with fresh cut flowers – they die – and sold my interest to my partner. But I’d learned that I enjoyed owning my own business – and how popular balloons were with customers. It seemed everyone wanted a balloon with their flowers. This was the seed for my next venture.”

Let’s Party opened its doors in 1990 in the “old downtown” part of Kennewick, Wash. At first, it was the area’s only store offering a wide selection of party supplies and balloons. “The store was not located in a major shopping area, the roof leaked and the floor had a definite slope, but these problems were minimal as we were the only party store in town,” Don remembered.

Business was booming – until the big box stores as well as a chain party store came to town. “These stores may not have had our selection, but they offered convenient locations along with lower prices,” he said.

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