FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Selling costume masks is something 90 year-old Dick Stoner has been doing for decades. “Everything we sell is fun. Costumes are fun,” said Stoner. “I opened my store 70 years ago in 1949.”
His store is called Stoner’s Funstore. It’s located at 712 South Harrison Street downtown. Stoner says during the stay-at-home order he and his wife lost a lot of business. “School plays that we had costumes for, those are gone because they canceled the shows. No one rented for Saint Patrick’s Day or Easter,” he said.
Recently the store reopened. Customer purchases have been slow by steady, especially when it comes to one particular item. “Wigs,” said Dee Stoner. “They cover hair which isn’t covered by a regular mask and we have them in all kinds of colors and styles. I think we have about 200 different wigs.”
Donning one of the eye popping colors is one way Dee said customers are trying to have fun easing back into some sense of normal. Mask heads have also become popular with a lot of drive-by celebrations that are now more common because of the pandemic but Dee said never wear them thinking they’re a substitute for a face covering.
“A lot of the full masks people can’t wear as an actual face covering because they don’t meet the standards put out by the health department,” she said.
Soon after the pandemic hit, Stoner’s did make masks that met standards. Most were given to their church. “Our church was looking for some to give to some health places so we gave most of them away,” said Dee.
Instead of making more Dick and Dee are now trying to get their business back on track, following safety guidelines to clean and sanitize as they work to rent out the masks and costumes they have in stock.
“We keep everything wiped off and everything cleaned and anything that any body would put on, we sanitize that before its put back out,” said Stoner. “It stays quarantined for 72 hours so during that time, nobody else tries it on.”
Having weathered the quarantine, Stoner’s is thanking customers for continuing to mask up in more ways than one, so the store can remain a destination with fun, goofy, stuff to sell.
“If they want fun, we’ve got it,” said Stoner. Click here for a link to look over all the fun, goofy, stuff. Stoner’s will celebrate 71 years in business at the end of the month.