After nearly 21 years of running A-1 Party Rentals, owners Eva and Clyde Dickens will pass the torch to A-1’s new owner, Maury Littleton — owner of the Nacogdoches party store Party N’ Things.
She and her husband, Tracy, plan to take over the business on Nov. 1, she said.
The Dickens look forward to retiring from the business, they said. They began looking for someone new to take on the job and have worked with Littleton over the years, they said.
“At 76-years-old, in my opinion, you need to maybe start thinking about slowing down,” Clyde Dickens said. “I think the business needs a fresh mind, fresh thoughts. We’ve done all right with it but there is an opportunity for the business to expand.”
The Dickens chose Littleton because of her promise to remain faithful to the A-1 customer base and to continue providing the same level, if not better, service, they said.
“I have worked with Clyde and Eva for years,” Littleton said. “So we’ve just been looking for different options and honestly, I heard they were interested in selling so I came down, we met, and the more we talked the more we felt that this was just a God-given thing. It’s just so natural, and it works.”
She had wanted to expand into Lufkin and become a part of the thriving community, she said. She saw how well the community responded to female business owners and her son wanted to attend Lufkin High School, so when the opportunity arose, she took it.
“I didn’t get to just say, ‘I’ll buy this,’” she said. “I had to go through an interview process and they had to pick me.”
The Dickenses said they are excited for the new services Littleton will bring to the table. She plans to bring paper and plastic goods that people can buy for events and to bring in more options for children’s parties, too. Party N’ Things has a wide selection of blow-up options and can make balloon sculptures, as well, she said.
“We didn’t want someone to come in and not offer Lufkin what Lufkin wants,” Eva Dickens said. “Anybody that has had any dealings with us over the last twenty-plus years could come in and say, ‘Clyde, I would really like this’ and Clyde will say if we don’t have it for them, but make sure they get it anyway. … It never ever meant telling them no.”
They want someone who will follow through with the requests of customers and make their vision work, she said.