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Theatre company seizes chance to buy thousands of costumes, seeks donations

Patty Thayer

A massive costume collection aggregated over three decades on the Central Coast is being sold to a theater group in the area. The transfer signifies an end of an era, while providing a big upgrade for one local non-profit. 

More than 5,000 costumes will be making their way to a storage facility at Camp San Luis in the coming days. The outfits are the inventory of Costume Capers, a locally-owned shop that closed its doors after this year's Halloween season. 

The owners first opened their doors in downtown San Luis Obispo in 1985, but in recent years found it difficult to compete with large, seasonal costume providers and chain stores. Back in September, when the closure was first announced, the owners told KCBX they were hoping the inventory would remain local preferably with a theater company.

And that's exactly how it has played out.

Patty Thayer, SLO Little Theatre Company's Communications and Development Director, said her organization is hoping for community donations in the coming months to help with this purchase.

"It's a crutch for us right now, but we can do it. It was not in our budget for this year to be able to make a purchase like this, but it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. So basically, the donations will come in to fill in what we will be spending of money that was not budgeted," said Thayer.

While the theatre is getting the collection at a fraction of the its value, they hope to raise up to $30,000.

Other costs include converting the empty Camp San Luis storage space to house costumes.

Thayer said an estimated 75 to 80 percent of future shows will be costumed with the new inventory and that should continue for years to come.