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Old January 11 2015, 09:26 AM   #1
Miss Chicken
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Question for Americans

Well - mainly for Americans but other people are free to answer what their term for these are.

I am reading a cosy mystery that is set in Michigan. The author kept mentioning 'party stores' which is a term I hadn't come across before. I had to look the meaning up and it seems to refer to a small store that is other places in the USA might be called any of the following

bodega
convenience store
carry-out

Maybe there are other terms as well.

I suppose that term I would use is a 'corner shop' as usually that is their location in Australia. Rarer now than they used to be.
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Old January 11 2015, 09:34 AM   #2
Locutus of Bored
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Re: Question for Americans

I've never heard party store used to refer to a convenience store, liquor store, or bodega before. Here, when I hear party store it's referring to literally that: a store that sells party supplies (mostly non-perishables) like birthday decorations, candles, balloons, plastic cups, games, birthday/holiday cards, sno-cone makers, costumes, gift bags, kids prizes, Easter eggs, etc. Party City is a big chain of stores dedicated purely to selling party supplies, for instance.
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Old January 11 2015, 09:41 AM   #3
Miss Chicken
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Re: Question for Americans

I think that that is why I was so confused. Here a party store is for party supplies and that is all I got when I first searched under 'party store'. However when I enter the search term 'party store Michigan' I came up with this

Dear Word Detective: I was raised in Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta and Omaha. Now I live in Detroit with my native Detroit-er husband. I am often going to little stores to buy things like Tums and cigarettes. I have always called these places “convenience stores,” or, perhaps, “corner stores.” But my husband calls them “party stores.” Why does Michigan insist on calling these places “party stores”? Certainly, I understand that liquor, beer and smokes often lead to a party. Is the rest of the country just not having as much fun as Michigan? — Fritz.
So it looks like it might be a term that is restricted to Michigan.http://www.word-detective.com/2008/04/party-store/
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Old January 11 2015, 09:51 AM   #4
Gov Kodos
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Re: Question for Americans

Never heard of Party Stores. As Locutus said, all I could imagine would be a store for parties. Always be prepared that any Americanism, especially in novels where the author may be going for regional authenticity, can very well be a local term that would be as much a mystery to other Americans as it is to non-Americans.

Growing up before 7-11s and other 24 hour stores, they were referred to by name, or as corner stores as they were often located near corners. Usually store would be left off to say 'I'm going down to the corner.' I guess convenience store would have been the general term for those places, too. Been too long since I have thought about it. Variety store would also be used, 'Jack's Variety' for instance.

In New England, alcohol products had been sold in their own stores until the mid-80s or so, as I recall, and were locally called package stores. For beer wine, and spirits you'd say you were going to the packy. Outside New England no one would know what you were talking about. They were not open on Sunday, though bars were. Ah, Blue Laws, thankfully a thing of the past for the most part, now.
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Old January 11 2015, 10:04 AM   #5
J. Allen
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Re: Question for Americans

Here where I live, in Ohio, we have a convenience store called "Party Mart," and they sell party supplies, along with general goods.
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Old January 11 2015, 10:04 AM   #6
Miss Chicken
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Re: Question for Americans

I have decided to try and read a cosy mystery from every US state over the next five years, so about 10 a year. I have already read four of the Bud Shumway mysteries (by Chinle Miller) that are set in Utah.

I guess I might learn many other local terms and customs.
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Old January 11 2015, 10:07 AM   #7
C.E. Evans
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Re: Question for Americans

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
I think that that is why I was so confused. Here a party store is for party supplies and that is all I got when I first searched under 'party store'. However when I enter the search term 'party store Michigan' I came up with this

Dear Word Detective: I was raised in Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta and Omaha. Now I live in Detroit with my native Detroit-er husband. I am often going to little stores to buy things like Tums and cigarettes. I have always called these places “convenience stores,” or, perhaps, “corner stores.” But my husband calls them “party stores.” Why does Michigan insist on calling these places “party stores”? Certainly, I understand that liquor, beer and smokes often lead to a party. Is the rest of the country just not having as much fun as Michigan? — Fritz.
So it looks like it might be a term that is restricted to Michigan.http://www.word-detective.com/2008/04/party-store/
Yeah, the author seems to want to be authentic to the setting by using local terms.
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Old January 11 2015, 11:51 AM   #8
RJDiogenes
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Re: Question for Americans

I've never heard a convenience store called a party store either. Here a party store would be something like The Party Place or iParty. We do call liquor stores packies, though. "Gonna make a packy run."
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Old January 11 2015, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: Question for Americans

Unless it was really expensive or specialized stuff, it sounds like what we'd call a "dollar store" (actually a lot of the merchandise costs more than a dollar). Those places usually have at least half an aisle, if not a whole aisle just for party decorations, candles, and favors.

There would be another half an aisle for cards, wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, gift bags, and tape.
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Old January 11 2015, 09:21 PM   #10
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Re: Question for Americans

Welcome to my world, Miss Chicken. There are so many words that are misleading to the non-initiates. When I read "fire engine" for the first time I wondered if that might be a lighter.
Or - closer to your example - "goodwill store". What positive intentions might they sell, your average tourist muses.

Michiganians appear to have a lot of special words. There's a pretty cool article about the most unusual ones http://www.michigannative.com/ma_wordsphrases.shtml

that list gives the following definition for "party store"
"Parrty Storre": US equivalent: liquor store. There's one on every other block. We like it that way, cuz ya never know when the urge fer a Moosehead'll hitcha. Or, ya know... could be Stroh's.
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Old January 11 2015, 09:43 PM   #11
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Re: Question for Americans

South Carolina here, but I've also lived in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, and Connecticut, and if I heard "party store" my first thought would be what Locutus mentioned unless there was special context for the phrase - like that it was coming from a frat boy - in which case I might consider that they were talking about a liquor store or a porn shop. And then I have some female friends of the "works at a book store or library/quilts and sews/attends renfaires and conventions in costume" variety who might be referring to a craft supply store if they used the phrase.
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Old January 11 2015, 09:56 PM   #12
Miss Chicken
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Re: Question for Americans

rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
Welcome to my world, Miss Chicken. There are so many words that are misleading to the non-initiates. When I read "fire engine" for the first time I wondered if that might be a lighter.
Or - closer to your example - "goodwill store". What positive intentions might they sell, your average tourist muses.

Michiganians appear to have a lot of special words. There's a pretty cool article about the most unusual ones http://www.michigannative.com/ma_wordsphrases.shtml

that list gives the following definition for "party store"
"Parrty Storre": US equivalent: liquor store. There's one on every other block. We like it that way, cuz ya never know when the urge fer a Moosehead'll hitcha. Or, ya know... could be Stroh's.
In my part of the world a 'goodwill shop' is called an 'op shop' (opportunity shop) though people often refer them by a shortened form of the charity that runs a particular store (Vinnies or the Salvos).
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Old January 11 2015, 10:01 PM   #13
rhubarbodendron
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Re: Question for Americans

Thank you!! That's exactly the stuff that's never listed in dictionaries and tourist guides. In Germany, we call such a store "Sozialkaufhaus" (social department store).

And a party shop in the Michigan sense would be a "Schnapsladen" (brandy shop). However, we have only very few as a wide range of alcoholic beverages is available in every supermarket. I think we have far more wine shops than "party shops".
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Old January 11 2015, 10:12 PM   #14
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Re: Question for Americans

^ There's nothing wrong with being schnapps-laden. I find it rather enjoyable, actually.
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Old January 11 2015, 10:25 PM   #15
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Re: Question for Americans

Miss Chicken wrote: View Post
In my part of the world a 'goodwill shop' is called an 'op shop' (opportunity shop) though people often refer them by a shortened form of the charity that runs a particular store (Vinnies or the Salvos).
Goodwill Industries is actually the name of a charity organization that's sometimes used as a generic term for what we Yanks call a thrift shop or thrift store.

As for "party store," I never knew it meant anything other than a store that sells, well, party stuff.
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