Make-believe with a costume

Totally Costumes owner Jay Stringer stands in his warehouse, where hundreds of costumes are shipped every day. Enlargephoto

Jeanne Archambeault/Times

Totally Costumes owner Jay Stringer stands in his warehouse, where hundreds of costumes are shipped every day.

With the arrival of the upcoming Millwood Follies, and the Mancos Melt, many people will be wondering where is a good place to get the costume they want. You might look through your closet, go to a thrift store or look online.

But there is a costume dealer just south of Mancos, in Weber Canyon. That big building on Road G that formerly manufactured toys is now a warehouse for hundreds of costumes called Totally Costumes.

"We do all Internet sales," said owner Jay Stringer.

He and his wife, Lea, have had a business since 1992, but they've had the costume business since 2003. "We started out small, selling a few here and there, but then it became bigger and bigger," she said.

They have nearly outgrown their location near Mancos, he said. As you walk through the 30,000 square foot warehouse, you can see why. There are floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall containers that hold the many costumes that they make available through their website.

When their costumes are sold on the Internet, they are then shipped from Mancos. A whole room is devoted entirely to the process, keeping their employees busy.

"We get a lot of business from Durango," said Stringer. "So far, we've only gotten a few orders from Mancos."

They have everything from Dr. Seuss, St. Patrick's Day, superheros and even costumes for dogs.

The company ships to people all over the world, he said. Costumes are something that everyone enjoys. Consequently, they sell them all year around.

However, there is a "season" for the company, in which they sell more costumes, from August through October.

"The biggest selling costume last year was Batman," Stringer said. "This year, it's been Superman and Thor." Usually, he said, when there's a movie out that depicts a super hero, that's the costume that they ship out the most.

For kids, he said, Ninja costumes are popular.

But, costumes are what people want all the time. "There's Mardi Gras, there are plays, there is Valentines Day .. you name it. People just want to escape and costumes can give them that get-away."

Totally Costumes employs 12 people in the off-season and increases to 36 during their busy season. They don't have a showroom, and the only way to order from them is through their website at www.totallycostumes.com.

But there's no doubt you'll find what you're looking for. "We have a lot of fun here," said Stringer.

Totally Costumes is in a big warehouse building on Road G. They have been carrying costumes since 2003. Enlargephoto

Special to the Times

Totally Costumes is in a big warehouse building on Road G. They have been carrying costumes since 2003.