FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) – The party is coming to an end at one longtime Fond du Lac business.
“Everybody comes in and they’re so excited to talk with you about their weddings their baby showers all of these events that they have coming up in their lives,” said Casey Mueller who is the general manager at the 50-50 Factory Outlet in Fond du Lac.
Mueller has been the general manager at the party supplies store for about three years where she helps people pick out balloons, decorations, and other supplies for special occasions.
“We’re here for celebrations and making those milestones in your life special,” said Mueller.
Wednesday is the beginning of the end for the store. At 9 a.m., a going-out-of-business sale will begin and will continue until inventory runs out. Store owner Scott Lystrup said inflation, supply chain snags, and staffing shortages all factored into his decision to close the store.
“I’d like to end this business with our heads held high and showing a profit as opposed to running the business into the ground,” said Lystrup.
He said supply chain issues got so bad last year that some of their Halloween inventory came in after the holiday. He also said things are just more expensive.
“Freight has been a big one, probably a 30 percent increase on some of our freight,” said Lystrup. “The cost of helium to keep things moving that’s probably been a 50 percent increase.”
Lawrence University professor David Gerard said that these are problems impacting small businesses around the country. He said stimulus payments and the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates have both led to the inflation that the country is seeing right now.
“What I think is happening recently is the supply constraints are really tightening things up so you’re seeing really big price spikes or drops depending on which way demand is going,” said Gerard.
But Lystrup and his employees are staying positive. After all, it’s hard to be unhappy when you’re surrounded by birthday balloons and Halloween decorations even when all the fun stuff won’t be there for much longer.
“I think people are going to remember this as a very unique store, that it was the place to be the place to go,” said Mueller.
50-50 Factory Outlet has four locations, in addition to Fond du Lac, there are locations in Eau Claire, Janesville, and Schofield. All locations are closing, for more information on the going-out-of-business sales at each of the locations click here.
Lystrup said he’s still deciding what to do with the businesses once they officially close.
“It’s sad to see a staple in the community go,” said Mueller.
Envision Greater Fond du Lac said the 50-50 Factory Outlet has been an economical option for events held by local residents and businesses for years. The store had been in Fond du Lac for about 35 years.
“Take action now,” said an official with Envision Greater Fond du Lac when asked what their advice would be too small businesses in the area as they navigate these challenging economic times. “Start the conversation about what your business needs to look like in order to sustainably exist in the future.”
Envision Greater Fond du Lac County assists entrepreneurs by means of business plan technical support, financial projections, networking connections, connecting small businesses to lenders and gap finance options, market viability services and guidance regarding legal registration, permitting and licensing.