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Party store has you covered Tonnette Lyles | Sat, Mar 05 2011 12:00 PM

Willy Wonka meets Gepetto is an apt way of describing a new confectionary and party store on Third Avenue.

"We make your ideas come true," said Maria Pojero, co-owner of Pinocho's and Party Makers.

The store opened in September of last year after moving here from Tijuana for greater opportunity.

Pinocho is Spanish for Pinocchio, and Pojero chose the name for her store because she loves everything about Pinocchio.

"You don't see Pinocchio everywhere like other characters," she said.

Pinocho's has celebrated success with parties almost every weekend, Pojero said.

"I will let you in on a little secret. I don't like candy, but I do it for the kids, they love candy," she said, adding that she has no children of her own. But, as one of 12 children, she has a host of nieces and nephews and she loves the idea of kids having parties that they don't forget.

One recent Saturday, Pinocho's and Party Makers was invited to Children's Hospital to entertain the children and was very moved by the reception, Pojero said.

"We did everything, bowling, supermarket, fair games, and they loved it," she said. They loved it so much that some of the patients painted pictures of hearts for her.

"We will go back every time they ask," said store co-owner Enrique Sandoval.

Sandoval is like Gepetto, Pojero laughs, because of his ability to make just about anything.

"Everything is handmade," Sandoval said, pointing at a "Cars" themed display carved out of wood.

"We are different," Pojero said of their brand of customer service. At other party stores you go in and you buy what they have available," she said. "Here if you want a certain character, color or theme, we say, 'OK, no problem,'" she said.

Pojero and Sandoval said they prefer customers coming into the store and working with them to plan parties rather than just throwing down money for party favors. "We do all of this for the kids," she said. "Our mission statement is, "You'll never forget your party."

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