About 40 years ago a successful local realtor by the name of Marjorie Gondeck was in charge of the sale of a building at 809 Franklin St., Michigan City, when she was inspired by her passion and hobby of collecting trinkets and treasures. They found a home in this vacant space and her dreams paved a new direction when she purchased the building instead of selling it, and launched Rainbow Trades.

Now, Mrs. Gondeck was an innovative business woman who invested in many rental properties within the community, and even struck a deal with a costume shop to rent part of her storefront every October.

Her daughter was so enamored by the imaginative magic of the first costume her mother bought for her, a genie, that Marj and her husband went to their first costume convention in Indianapolis and bought 25 get-ups.

From that, Costume World was born in 1989, as a place to rent a costume anytime of the year. Dressing up was not just for Halloween or Christmas anymore. For Michigan City, superheroes could show up to a birthday party at anytime and parades came to life. Sadly, Marj passed away in August of 2015, and yet her spirit lives on. Her daughter, Sue Copeland, the same girl whose delight for the genie costume started Costume World many years ago, took over the family business and carries on the family legacy. And I had the privilege of listening to her share these memories. According to Sue, “I still have and rent the costume that started it all.”

According to Sue, “Costume World has over 1,200 costumes to rent from as little as $15 to the most expensive at $125 with an average cost of $25-$65 and some for purchase …”

But this store also offers mustaches, masks, heels, boots, wigs, coffins, real costume makeup for kids and adults, and costumes for mascots, superheroes and more.

During her off season, she usually is open by appointment only, but with the help of supportive friends, she will be participating in First Friday events again.

Costume World is open Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and every First Friday until 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 219-874-7099, or visit Rainbow Trades’ Facebook page.

Pam Brant is a travel writer and blogger.

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