Customers, family, and friends gathered on Sunday at Jimmy Gallant’s Party Store on West Chisholm Street in Alpena to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Jim Gallant, the current owner and son of Jimmy Gallant, who originally opened the store, has been working there for 60 years. The store has evolved over the years, changing names and products, and has become a beloved family-owned business in the community.
Jim Gallant fondly recalls his early years at the store, joking that he started working there when he was in diapers. His father would bring him to work, and he would help out for free or for a measly 10 cents an hour. Growing up in the store, he formed strong bonds with the employees who became like second mothers to him.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary, the store held a gathering where attendees received root beer floats, pulled pork sandwiches, and free apparel from liquor brands. It was a joyous occasion for not only Jim Gallant but also for the entire Gallant family, who have all played a part in running the store at some point.
Jimmy Gallant’s Party Store has survived various challenges and transitions throughout its 70-year history. It was once known as Jimmy’s Toyland and sold a wide range of toys. However, as larger company-owned stores moved in and sales declined, Jimmy Gallant made the pivotal decision to switch to the liquor business, providing supplies for weddings and special events. His son, Jim Gallant, followed in his footsteps and learned the business through trial and error.
Jimmy Gallant passed away in 2015, but his legacy lives on through the thriving party store. His wife, Margaret Gallant, who played a vital role in the store’s early years, passed away in 2000. The Gallant family’s hard work and dedication have been key to the store’s longevity.
Jim Gallant, now 64 years old, is considering retirement and potentially selling the store. While no plans have been made yet, he hopes to pass on the business to a local family who can continue its legacy. As he reflects on his years at the store, Gallant is grateful for the memories and cherishes seeing generations of families who have remained loyal customers.
Ultimately, the 70th anniversary celebration was a testament to the enduring success of Jimmy Gallant’s Party Store. While it may eventually come to an end, the impact it has had on the community and the memories it has created will never be forgotten. Despite the inevitable passing of time, the spirit of the store and the Gallant family will continue to live on in the hearts of those who have been a part of its journey.