"It's different,” said Sophia Scarpelli, owner of Sophia's Costumes in Greenwich. "It's not a cookie cutter store."
Sophia's Costumes is more than just a costume shop. For 32 years, Sophia Scarpelli has provided her customers with unique and sometimes whimsical merchandise in her storefront at 1 Liberty Way in Greenwich.
Scarpelli said, "People used to ask me to rent my vintage clothing that I restored and I didn't want to do that. So I started with a meger amount of money and made 10 flapper dresses and 12 [1950's] skirts because those were the things that people used to ask me for, and within a couple years it grew and now I have 5,000 costumes that we rent as well as about 1,500 pieces of vintage clothing that we rent as well from all decades. Then I have a costume retail business and we are here all year round."
Scarpelli said the landscape of business has changed since opening in 1981.
"It's been a struggle but it has been very gratifying. I've seen all the little guys kind of dissipate and go." said Scarpelli. "It's very hard to compete with the Pier 1's and the big giant chain stores that can pay the giant rent so unfortunately it has pushed out a lot of the little businesses and most of the stores on Greenwich Avenue are giant conglomerate stores or chains."
When remember what Greenwich Avenue used to be, Glenn Beyus, Costume Manager at Sophia's Costumes said "It was really cool, more of a home feeling and more family oriented. People knew your name, they said hello to you, whether it was at the post office or the train station. Now it's just Mercedes-Benz and Bentley and I don't know if it's for the best. It [Greenwich Avenue] has lost its "home" feel."
In addition to costumes, masks, hats and wigs, the store also features a Christmas village and a vintage clothing section that return in November.
Before the Christmas village arrives in the shop, Scarpelli will co-host a Halloween benefit for Kids in Crisis with Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich on October 18th. 100% of all donations with benefit Kids in Crisis.
Beyus said "It's just fun. As long as it is a fun environment, I think we'll be fine. If people come in here for a good time, they'll get it."
Scarpelli added, "When you come to my store, you are going to walk in and get blown away. Because it's like no other costume store you've every seen. And I'm proud of that."
For more information about Sophia's Costumes, visit sophiascostumes.com.