SAN ANTONIO – Large gatherings and parties fueled a 70-year-old San Antonio party supply business, but now it’s in a tough position as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the area.
Jeffrey Weiss, owner of Almos’ Party Supply and Fiesta Favors, said his grandfather opened the business in 1949, and Weiss is fighting to keep it open.
He said 2020 has been a far less festive year with restrictions on gatherings and many major events canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It just goes from 0 to 100 overnight. No one really prepares you,” he said.
Weiss said the virus has led to major setbacks for the family-owned business.
“From a business perspective, the timing was absolutely horrible,” he said.
April and May are peak seasons, according to Weiss. He said events like Fiesta and Cinco De Mayo had kept business booming.
On any ordinary year, shoppers would come into the store to purchase decorations for the businesses, organizations or themselves.
However, with Fiesta canceled and celebrations on hold, sales were down 90% this year compared to 2019.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory is now left sitting on the shelves. Weiss is hopeful it will be put to good use in 2021.
“We need people to be able to gather in social settings. Without that, we don’t have much of a business,” he said.
The local shop also supplies decorations to other parts of the country, like New York and California. Weiss said with no large celebrations in those places, there have been fewer sales.
He was forced to reduce store hours and cut back on advertisements and now relies on local support.
“Buying a little bit of stuff to decorate their front yard or inside their house for a birthday,” Weiss said about the shoppers.
He remains optimistic the business will make it through another holiday season, but he’s unsure what the future holds.
“If this continues through another year, I’m not sure we’ll be able to withstand that,” he said.