Two years ago, when Chantelle King's phone rang on Thanksgiving Day, it wasn't someone wishing her a good day.
It was her district manager saying the Paper Factory store that she managed at Broadmoor Square in Pasco would close in January.
"It was a shock," she said. "Our numbers had been coming up. The store was doing well."
But the Paper Factory party supply store chain, part of Party America Corp., had been sold to another corporation, Party City. And it was more interested in large box stores, Costco-sized, than in the modest storefront housing Pasco's Paper Factory.
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News the store was closing quickly spread among the store's loyal customers.
"They found the phone number for corporate headquarters and the e-mail address, too," King said. "Corporate was flooded with calls and e-mails. It overwhelmed the staff."
King then got another call, this time ordering her, pleading with her, to get everyone calmed down.
Then the customers' petition hit the CEO's desk, all 100 or so pages of it.
"I had my hand slapped pretty hard over that. They were not happy with me at all," King said. "I told them to take another look at my numbers, that people out West (corporate headquarters is in New Jersey) wanted their Paper Factory.
"A lot of people came in just to sign the petition and told their friends to come in too," she said. "We got a slug of new customers during that time."
The Pasco Paper Factory is one of seven on the West Coast, the next closest is in North Bend. The others are in Arizona, California and Oregon. It's been at Broadmoor since the mall opened about 15 years ago.
"This store draws people in from Moses Lake, Ephrata, Hermiston, Pendleton, Goldendale, Yakima, all over the Columbia Basin," King said. "There's even one woman I know of who comes over from Montana once or twice a year and always has a list of things to get for her friends. And several school teachers from Walla Walla come here to buy wrapping paper to cover their bulletin boards."
When it became clear to corporate officials that the store's customers were loyal and willing to support it remaining open, King received another phone call just two days before the store was due to close. The store would stay open.
"We threw a party at the Paper Factory. We were ecstatic," she said.
The store continued to do well, she said, so well that this summer she received another call from her boss. The store was moving across the parking lot to a larger storefront. The move is scheduled to be completed by this weekend.
"We were bursting at the seams at the other store. We had a bigger back room than we do here but this store has a higher ceiling and another 1,000 square feet of floor space out front. Before we could never put out everything we had, now we can just as soon as the new shelves arrive," King said.
King said the store's name doesn't convey everything the Paper Factory stocks.
"We have everything you can possibly think of for a party," she said. "This is where you get your party supplies, or at least part of it. And if we don't have it we can pull from other Paper Factory stores."
Besides the paper products -- plates, cups, napkins, table coverings -- the store has greeting cards and polyester film balloons, gift bags and boxes, disposable chafing dishes and decorations for every holiday you can celebrate, including a full line of luau accessories.
"Luau and Mardi Gras themes are popular no matter what the time of year," King said.
Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The new location of the Paper Factory is at 5226 Outlet Drive, Broadmoor Square, Pasco. The new phone is 546-9052.
Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org