Popular costume shop in Crystal Falls announces final season

Michelle Santy, left, a costume designer for the Phelps School theater productions, goes through accessories for future performances at the Costume Closet with volunteer manager Gloria Frederickson. The shop at 304 Superior Ave., in Crystal Falls, will close its doors for good after the Thanksgiving holiday. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Terri Castelaz)

CRYSTAL FALLS — After more than a decade, the costume rental shop in downtown Crystal Falls will be closing for good.

The Costume Closet has long been a one-stop store for members of the community seeking that perfect attire for Halloween, stage or special events.

“This will be the final season,” said volunteer manager Gloria Frederickson, who is retiring after 26 years.

A number of factors contributed to the decision, Frederickson said.

“The building is getting old and needs attention,” she said. She also recently lost her husband and son.

Costume Closet volunteer manager Gloria Frederickson shows a few of the pieces available for purchase. The shop will be selling Halloween costumes through the month, with items to be added to the sale in November.

“I feel it’s time for me to move downstate to be with my family,” she said.

With the pandemic and other situations, people are doing more of their shopping online, Frederickson added.

The costume rental business was established in 1995 as part of the Crystal Theatre. At that time, the volunteer-based, non-profit began collecting formal wear and robes for productions.

It initially was run from the theater’s basement, then moved to the second floor and what now is called Stage Left, Frederickson said. As the inventory grew, they opened at 304 Superior Ave. in 2008 after Jim Kunz donated the former drug store, allowing them proper space for the collection.

“I felt this type of service would be beneficial for the community,” she said. “It’s been great. We have been a part of so many things, not only Halloween — fashion shows, theatrical productions, biblical programs, school programs, Christmas skits and even weddings.”

The large, two-story building now houses hundreds of outfits, as well as thousands of accessories.

“We have it all — from head to toe and everything in between,” she said. “It’s astounding, what we have accumulated over the years.”

Since its start, the closet has specialized in creative costumes, many of them handmade and one of a kind.

“I have made many of the costumes myself,” Frederickson said. “Whatever people needed, I tried to help them out.”

These unique pieces now can be purchased. “Up until this point, we only rented to customers unless something absolutely needed to be sold,” she said.

The choices are endless when it comes to costumes — from classic clowns, witches, vampires, goblins to all the fictional and movie characters. There is even sections of classical, renaissance and foreign wardrobes.

The second floor primarily houses the children’s collection.

Sizes range from 1 to 14 for children, and from small to extra-large sizes for adults.

“Anything you can think of we probably have — just use your imagination,” she said. “When people walk in here for the first time they are amazed.”

Frederickson stressed that they have quality pieces, not the usual discount-store items.

Customers now will have to decide not just what they want to be this year but what to take for events to come.

“I hope it will be a fantastic, fun future for them,” she said.

At this time, only Halloween costumes will be sold, Frederickson said. Christmas costumes such as Santa, the Grinch and angels — as well as many wedding, fur and vintage items — will be available in November.

“There is just not enough room right now to get everything out,” Frederickson explained.

Pieces from Frederickson’s personal collection will be added as well.

They do have a lot of vintage clothing and accessories that are coming back in style, she noted.

“Volunteers will continue to sell items online after the shop closes,” she added.

Frederickson encourages theatrical programs or other non-profits to visit, as she would like to see the items go for future productions.

“The community has been so generous and supportive over the years,” she said. “I thank them for their kindness.”

After the building is cleared, the theater board will decide what will be done with the property.

Shoppers can visit the store from 1 to 6 p.m. Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sunday and 1 to 6 p.m. through Oct. 31.

After Halloween, the shop will be open with limited hours in November; Frederickson said they will post hours before the November dates.

“I want to be done by Thanksgiving,” she said. “And I can give thanks to everyone for everything over the years — it’s never been work, it’s been fun.”


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