Brothers Mark and John Williams are the masterminds behind the wildly popular Party Station stores. They opened Strongsville’s new 4 Fun to offer an expansive selection of the completely unnecessary.
Just 4 Fun!
by Ken McEntee
We may be in an age of expensive gadgets and high technology that lets a kid play three-dimensional, high-definition video games over the Internet against another kid on the other side of the world, but at the end of the day, is there anything more entertaining than duping some poor sap into plopping his butt down onto a whoopee cushion or bending over to take a face full of water from a squirting flower?
“After all these years hand buzzers and stink bombs are still popular,” laughs Mark Williams, as he shows off a shelf full of the really dumb stuff that makes life fun at his new 4 Fun store in Strongsville.
Like fake mustaches. Or a wind-up mouse that scurries across the floor, scaring the fun out of mom.
Think about the goofiest hats you’ve ever seen on the heads of high school cutups at the Friday night football game. You’ll probably find them at 4 Fun.
Mimi’s pages are filled with businesses that have what you need. Mark makes no pretense that you will ever actually need anything in his store. But there are plenty of items you’ll probably want.
In fact, 4 Fun has thousands of items for less than $3.
“This store reflects my personality,” says Mark, who opened 4 Fun this month with his brother, John. The Williams brothers have been selling fun for a long time. Since 1989 the family has owned Party Station, a local group of stores that sell anything you can possibly need to have a party. With its helium tanks, mylar balloons and paper plates featuring Little Jimmy’s favorite animated characters, Party Station is naturally a fun place. But if you’re a mom who has ever planned a party, you know how stressed out you can be—even within the festive atmosphere of a party store.
“That’s why I wanted things in here that have nothing to do with what you need,” Mark explains. “It’s a store with and without needs and wants. It’s just plain fun.”
Just like the fun that takes the form of screams as a group of young girls spot 4 Fun’s life size cardboard cutout of Justin Bieber. And they have other cutouts, too, like super heroes and Betty Boop.
4 Fun contains fun items for people of all ages, from baby to grandma, Mark says. And unlike those edgy novelty stores you might find in a mall, 4 Fun has nothing on its shelves that is inappropriate for the eyes of a child.
“We’re a family-friendly shop and we encourage kids to come in and try things out,” Mark says.
If you’re not in a good mood when you walk into 4 Fun, it’s only a matter of time B4UR. You might start with a stop at the checkout counter and squeeze a plush Happy Pill. The silly laughter is contagious.
“I’ve been in retail all my life,” explains Mark, who, with his father, started the first Party Station store not far from the present location of 4 Fun. “A few years ago we expanded into women’s fashion. This store is one that appeals to everybody,” he says while stopping to wind up a small clown that commences to turn a variety of somersaults on a table.
The first thing you’ll see when you walk into the store is a large assortment of candy, from your standard candy bars to nostalgic selections, like Zots, Necco candy dots and Pez. Nearby, a rotating rack of stylish and whacky funglasses offers an assortment of eyewear appropriate for the sunny days of summer.
“Some of our items will change seasonally,” Mark says. “We’re not going to sell kites in the winter, for example. And we’re happy to take suggestions from customers. We want to know what items they’d like to see in the store.”
The high-flying item for Dad, Mark says, is the selection of radio control helicopters. And, of course, the kites.
A large portion of the store is devoted to the gags that will evoke sophomoric chuckles from guys of all ages, like squirting rings, fake parking tickets and annoying air horns. And kids, when school starts next month, be ready to endear yourself to Mrs. Hansen by offering her a “shocking” stick of chewing gum.
If you think this stuff is expensive, the joke’s on you.
“Value matters, and price is an advantage at 4 Fun,” Mark promises. “You are going to find a lot of value in this store.”
A section of girlie makeup and accessories features bracelets, earrings, necklaces, hair accessories and all the trendy bling. A selection of fashion handbags is featured—and they’re all under $30.
You’ll also find greeting cards, inspirational magnets and a full display of Yoodara good luck charms.
Hats are also a popular item at 4 Fun, everything from sailor hats, cowboy hats and policeman hats to ridiculous hamburger and pizza hats. And if you’re itching for a bear claw extendable back scratcher, you’re in the right place. You’ll find it near the switchblade spork.
If you’re on your way to a party, don’t forget to pick up a Left-Right-Center (LCR) dice game. You’ll find it on the checkout counter, right next to the Lucky Turtle charms.
4 Fun is located in the location of the former Hoopla store, in Strongsville’s Towne Centre Plaza, at 15139 Pearl Road, just behind Donut Scene, and in between Cleats and the Cute Little Cake Shop. The hours are Tuesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, from noon to 5:00 p.m. You can call them at 440-846-7700.