CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio (WJW) — Local costume and party stores in Northeast Ohio are struggling to stay afloat.
“Normally at this time of year, we would be busting at the seams with lines out the door,” said Meralie Pocock, co-owner of Mr. Fun’s Costumes and Magic Emporium in Cuyahoga Falls.
But this year, it is very different.
“We can see every day how the pandemic has affected our customers and each of our staff members. It’s definitely quieter, more subdued,” said Pocock.
The costume shop reopened earlier this month after being closed since March.
The trickle-down effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to them.
“All the school plays were canceled. Community theater was canceled. All the parades were canceled. During the summer, fairs were canceled. All the Comic-Cons. Basically, everything we do was eliminated,” says Pocock.
Since the store reopened, business has been down almost 70 percent. However, in recent days, people are starting to come to the store to browse around.
Just as cases are spiking in Summit County and nearby Cuyahoga County is teetering on Level 4.
“That was the worst news we could hear. We are just a week away from the biggest holiday of our year,” said Pocock.
Mr. Fun’s is family owned and operated since 1968. They are hoping to weather the storm while other independently owned costume shops and businesses in the area haven’t been as lucky.
“Every time a small business closes its doors, it breaks a little piece of my heart. Because I go out of my way to go to the locally-owned restaurants and shop at the local stores,” said Pocock.
Pocock says their most popular costume this year is the plague doctor mask. By the way, the store ships out online costumes at www.mrfuns.com.