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Costume shop a perfect fit

The company has more than 19,000 items in stock. They can be fitted, rented or bought through one of the three locations in Colonie, Rotterdam Mall and the main store in Schenectady. They are also available online at www.thecostumer.com and through The Costumer catalog, a 128-page what's-what of costumes, makeup kits and accessories.

"There are others that do it, but we are one of the biggest and one of the first. Jack and Kathe knew there was a niche there, and they pushed their business in that direction," said Cheryl Borski, purchasing manager for The Costumer.

Borski had been with the company 14 years.

Contrary to popular belief, the store's busiest season is not Halloween, it's the high school musical season in March, she said. At that time, high schools across the country, especially in California and Texas where theater is mandatory study, keep The Costumer busy, said Sheehan.

However, those are not the only clients. The business rents and sells to college productions, the MTV Music Awards, off-Broadway productions and once provided makeup for Detroit rockers KISS.

There has never been a need to open stores in other states or regions of the country to meet demand, Sheehan said. The items can be shipped through catalog orders, and the Internet also plays a large role.

The only thing the store has done to keep up with business is buy bigger buildings, she said. The main offices and warehouse first opened on State Street in Schenectady. In 1984 Sheehan relocated the store to an old factory on Barrett Street, and even that building is beginning to fill up, she said.

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