AUSTIN (KXAN) — After being in business for nearly four decades, an iconic South Congress costume shop will close its doors by the end of the year.
“There are not a lot of year-round costume shops in the world and we’re very grateful to our customers for their ongoing support,” the store’s post read. “We’ve loved being a source of creativity and inspiration for your parties, plays, and productions. It has been a pleasure to fulfill your costuming dreams and fantasies. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”
A giant sign was draped over the storefront on Tuesday, reading, “We’re closing at the end of 2022!”
“We saw the sign that it’s closing, and we didn’t know, so we wanted to just come take a look around, because we don’t know when we’ll be back down here,” said one group of friends that lives in West Lake Hills.
Another customer, Ariel DeRuvo, said she was coming in to start her Halloween shopping early.
“Then it just turned out that guys are closing, and it’s really sad,” said DeRuvo, who remembered coming to the same store in high school when putting together a Sailor Moon costume.
The nearly 8,000 square foot store is filled with unique items including headwear and costumes by the occasion or decade.
“You can find like stuff that’s not on Amazon or just like unique things that have been collected and clearly loved for a while,” said another customer, Aaron Kary, while shopping for a festival outfit.
“Not a lot of places like this around,” he added. “Definitely won’t be the same street without it.”
Lucy in Disguise was founded by owner Jenna Radtke in 1984, the store said, and it has “grown into an Austin institution” since then.
Manager and store buyer Jerry Durham said the owner of Lucy in Disguise doesn’t plan on selling the space until they’re fully closed and cleared out. He said he doesn’t know what will happen next or who will take over the space.
He said there were a few driving factors behind the decision to close doors. First, he said the pandemic hit them hard. Although they were able to weather that, he said supply chain issues are still a problem.
“We order from a lot of different companies. We source from a lot of different places. It’s really been a challenge to keep the store as well stocked as people are used to it being,” Durham said.
He also said the street is changing.
“The style of South Congress doesn’t feel like what it was when we started the store,” said Durham, who has been with the company for nearly 13 years.
Jordan Varat, who works next door at Maya, agrees Austin is changing.
“It’s sad to see some of the staples go… there’s a lot of change. And it’s a positive thing in a lot of ways too,” said Varat, social media manager at Maya.
She said they’re not worried about having to leave, even though many of their neighbors have.
“We’re really positive about the street, and we’re really excited to keep moving forward,” Varat said.
But DeRuvo is sad to see another beloved Austin space go.
“People want to come here for the culture, but the culture is going to be gone,” she said.
Durham gets it — nearly every inch of the iconic store is covered with not only eclectic items but memories.
“As a queer man, like having this as kind of a haven and being able to come to work every day with no fear of judgment and all that, that’s been really impactful for me too,” he said.
There will still be time for customers to pick up some pieces for Halloween, though. The store said it’s shifting to “purchase only” starting Aug. 31. Rentals will stop after Aug. 30.
“At the moment, we still have plenty of stock and are ready to have one last Halloween with all of you,” Lucy in Disguise wrote. “As we will not be restocking, we recommend coming in early if you’d like to shop with us and we certainly hope you will!”
Earlier this summer, another South Congress mainstay shut down its physical location after 33 years — Tesoros Trading Company. The store sold folk arts and crafts from more than 20 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The owner told KXAN in late June they’re refocusing the business and are still planning to work with artisans to sell items online and to shops around the country.