New downtown store brings the party to Brunswick

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BRUNSWICK — The grand opening of As You Wish Party Planning at Senter Place on Maine Street, isn’t until Jan. 6. But owners Gail Gary and Stacey Backman have already hosted two weddings.

Gary constructed a white arch adorned with paper wedding bells for the in-store nuptials.

Hosting weddings is just one of the services offered by As You Wish, including party rentals, decorations, catering and cake design. If patrons want to plan their own parties, Gary said she and Backman are happy to give advice.

“We’re just here for anything,” she said. 

The owners have been running the business from home since June 2016. Canvases depicting past parties adorn the business’ walls, along with paper decorations hanging from the ceiling.

Gary said inspiration struck after she and Backman had a hard time finding party supplies nearby.

“There was nothing in the area,” Gary said, noting that other local party resources like Taylor Rental on Bath Road have closed recently. “Having to buy decorations and stuff like that (with) so many different places to hit, we were like, jeez we can do this ourselves.”

Backman added that before As You Wish opened, Brunswick residents had to travel as far as Portland to find items like bounce houses to rent. 

Backman and Gary also have tables, chairs, drink fountains and roasting dishes for rent, as well as popcorn, cotton-candy and snow-cone machines.

Backman said the biggest portion of the business before opening the store was birthday parties. She and Gary try to be especially mindful of clients’ budgets when planning birthday events, and are open to a variety of arrangements.

“If they don’t have enough (to spend) for a cake, some people bring in their own cake,” Backman said. “If they don’t have enough to buy the party goods from us or the paper goods from us, some people bring them and then we decorate for them.”

The pair have a partnership with Firehouse Tumbling & Cheer in Topsham, which is where many, but not all, of the birthday parties they host are held. In addition to set-up and clean-up, Gary and Backman also run birthday games as part of their services.

Gary said she thinks their willingness to help take on hosting duties is what sets them apart from other party planners, who might only rent the space and provide set-up and clean-up.

“When the kid is ripping open gifts, we’re picking up the trash and putting it away,” Gary said. “We’re doing all that so the parents don’t have to.”

Three party games are included in the As You Wish basic birthday party package, which costs $125 and accommodates 12 guests. A small sheet cake or 12 cupcakes are also included along with ice cream, drinks and other basic needs like table cloths, utensils and goody bags.

Backman also makes specialty cakes upon request, and runs her own cake business outside of As You Wish. 

The store’s grand opening on Saturday will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at 114 Maine St. Attendees can enter a raffle to win a balloon bouquet and a gift card for party planning, as well as enjoy complimentary refreshments.

More information is available on As You Wish’s Facebook page

Ultimately, Backman said running the business is something she and Gary truly enjoy doing.

“It doesn’t feel like work,” she said. 

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or  Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

Stacey Backman, left, and Gail Gary, at As You Wish, their new party planning store at Senter Place in downtown Brunswick. 

A robot cake baked by As You Wish Co-Owner Stacey Backman.