news, local news, the costume shop, elna delaney, covid, rental costume, east maitland, main street

It’s arguably one of the worst businesses to have in a pandemic and after nearly two years on the street of struggle, it’s hanging by a thread. If business does not improve over the next two months, The Costume Shoppe in East Maitland, a longtime High Street mainstay, will be forced to close permanently. Financial pressure from shutdowns and restrictions on gatherings has left the business at breaking point. Owner Elna Delaney has just $12 left in her bank account and with rising bills for the store’s rent, insurance, electricity, phone and water, she’s been forced to find casual work and trying to balance that with the business. She had pinned her hopes on the December Christmas parties to give him enough in the till for a few months worth of bills, but the Omicron variant put an end to that. As if that weren’t enough, her household’s financial situation took a turn for the worse five months ago when her husband – the breadwinner – suffered an accident at work and has not been able to work since. “People didn’t want to come together and catch the virus and spend Christmas in isolation, so there were no costume parties. It’s usually a very busy time of year and it’s my bread and butter that lasts until Easter,” she said. “It’s great business when we’re not in a pandemic.” Ms. Delaney keeps the boutique open by appointment only – when she is not at her occasional job. “It’s been very quiet, even since Christmas. I don’t think people have the money to spend on costumes now, they’ve been broke since Christmas and they have to get the kids back to school,” he said. she stated. She needs the community to support her and rent costumes so she can keep the doors open. For $50 to $55 — and a $30 refundable deposit — kids and adults can don a costume of their choice. There’s a huge range to choose from – Disney characters, 50s clothing, 1900s clothing, the movie Grease, to name a few. “I need the bills paid for the next three months or so, at the very least, so I have some breathing room and hope that in that time things with Omicron will improve,” she said. “If things don’t improve soon I won’t be able to hold on, I’ll have to close the business and try to sell it, even though I know I won’t get much out of it with the current situation. “When I started 7 years ago there were 12 costume shops along the coast and now there are only two left – me and one in Boolaroo.” To help Ms Delaney call the shop at 49341907 and make an appointment to hire a costume. In other news : Did you know you can subscribe to get full access to all Maitland Mercury stories? The subscription supports us in our local news coverage. Click here to subscribe.

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