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SLO Little Theatre buys costume collection from Costume Capers

Debi Hernandez and Keith Wetzel have sold their entire costume rental inventory — more than 5,000 costumes — to SLO Little Theatre.
Debi Hernandez and Keith Wetzel have sold their entire costume rental inventory — more than 5,000 costumes — to SLO Little Theatre. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre purchased the complete rental collection of more than 5,000 theatrical costumes from Costume Capers after the store announced its closure.

San Luis Obispo Little Theatre Managing Artistic Director Kevin Harris said that the theater's Board of Directors approved the purchase to preserve the curated collection of costumes, adding that it was important to Costume Capers co-owners Keith Wetzel and Debi Hernandez to keep the collection intact and local.

Although the finances to buy the collection weren't in this year's budget, Harris said the investment would pay for itself.

The collection was valued around $125,000 to $150,000, Harris said. He declined to disclose how much the theater paid for the costumes, but said it was far below market value.

Funds for the purchase came from the theater's reserve. Harris said that the collection will costume around 70 to 80 percent of the theater's future shows.

The collection will be stored at Camp San Luis Obispo where the theater is renting space. Harris estimated it will cost $10,000 to $15,000 to convert the space into a costume shop. The theater also intends to rent the costumes to local theater groups.

"We’re definitely looking for some costume angels out there to support the upkeep to the collection," Harris said. The theater hopes to raise $20,000 to $30,000. Volunteers are also needed in early December to help move the costumes to Camp San Luis Obispo.

Donations can be made online at www.slolittletheatre.org, at SLO Little Theatre, 888 Morro Street in San Luis Obispo, or by calling 781-3889, ext. 15.

Danielle Ames: 805-781-7902

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