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Costume shop to close after almost 30 years

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Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:40 pm

After nearly 30 years of business, the curtains will close at Center Stage Costumes & Magic.

The store, located in Butler Plaza, 3210 SW 35th Blvd., will be closing in late December.

It sells costumes, magic tricks, masks and nearly everything in between.

It is closing for a number of reasons, including the recession and a slower Halloween season.

Likewise, this year’s Homecoming was also in October, and not as many people came to the shop, said Dave Ofiara, a store employee.

Debbie Foster, the general manager, said the UF-Georgia game date also affected sales.

People were not in Gainesville for the weekend and didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on costumes, she added.

The dismal economy wasn’t the only reason the store had troubles. 

Foster said a new seasonal holiday store in The Oaks Mall opened just for Halloween, which also took away from business.

The income the store made for October of this year was the main deciding factor, she said.

“What the store makes in October and around Halloween-time is usually enough to support us throughout the rest of the year,” she said. “That was not the case this year.”

At a staff meeting last week, employees officially found out about the store’s closing, Ofiara said. Judi Cain, the owner of the store, has wanted to retire, and the idea of shutting the store down had been on the back of her mind for some time.

Ofiara, who started working there at the end of September, said the announcement was not a total surprise to employees.

Ofiara said there has been discounted merchandise for a while, and Cain has been thinking about downsizing.

“Everyone wanted to make it at least 30 years of business,” Ofiara said. “We almost made it there with 29 years.”

An outside agency has already been hired to help with closing of the store and accounting work.

A final closing sale, which will have items up to 75 percent off, started Nov. 18.

Foster said the store plans to close Dec. 31.

Center Stage Costumes & Magic is open  Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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