CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — It’s usually one of the busiest times of the year for a local costume shop, but this year has brought with it some challenges during the pandemic.
Mr. Fun’s Costumes and Magic Emporium in Cuyahoga Falls has been around since 1968. This year, Halloween was shaping up to be a hit, according to co-owner Meralie Pocock.
"This year is a special because it’s a Saturday Halloween," said Pocock. "It’s a full moon and it’s also when the clock sets back so there’s an extra hour of festivities for everyone. It was really shaping up to be a wonderful Halloween."
But amid the pandemic, the shop faced some difficult decisions and challenges. They were forced to close for several months. The shop closed its doors around Easter but reopened in September.
"Community theater, all school plays, parades, parties, renaissance fairs, comic cons, conventions, corporate gatherings….basically everything we do all summer long stopped this year," said Pocock.
So far this year business is down about 60 percent, according to Pocock. She said the shop received some help through small business loans and help from county programs. Pocock said she's grateful for the assistance which has given them the opportunity to reopen and adapt.
The shop's fitting rooms are closed but they offer help with measurements and alterations. The business now offers online orders and curbside pickup.
Pocock said others are finding ways to revise their Halloween events in order to stay safe.
"I’ve seen restaurants that are still able to have celebrations. They’re renting big tents in their parking lots so they can still socially distance."
While this year has been challenging, Pocock said they are doing everything they can to remain open.
"I think it’s so important for people to remember that how important the small businesses are," said Pocock. "They bring character to our communities."