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The curtain comes down on beloved costume shop in North Hollywood

It survived the COVID pandemic, two Hollywood strikes and the recent death of an owner.

But crushing debt is bringing the final curtain down on a legendary North Hollywood costume shop this month.

“It’s been the ‘perfect storm’ of a disaster,” said Shon LeBlanc, the surviving owner of Valentinos Costume Group on Cahuenga Boulevard. “I had shows literally dominoing – 15 in one week.”

The funky shop occupies a giant warehouse filled with more than 100,000 individual items, including costumes, dresses, shoes, helmets, bows and more.

LeBlanc, a costume designer and collector who’s been at it for decades, proudly showed off the beaded dress that once adorned actress Mary Pickford, a suit worn by Cheech Marin on “Nash Bridges” and a Popeye suit that Sonny Bono wore on “The Sonny and Cher Show.”

Valentinos served everyone from TV and movie producers to live theater managers to drag performers.

LeBlanc says some of the more collectible items will probably be donated to a museum, but everything else will be sold in the next few weeks in order to reduce the debt he’s incurred.

“The first day was crazy,” said Wesley Moran, clutching a bag and several costumes he’d just purchased. “Everybody was here; everybody was buying. It was lovely.”

On a hot Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of others stood on the sidewalk, waiting for their chance to grab a treasure or two. LeBlanc’s employees only let a few in at a time in order to avoid chaos.

And behind the counter, LeBlanc himself tallied up the toll. He said he’s touched that so many people are turning out to support him, but closing for good is a bitter pill to swallow.

Still, he does hold out a measure of hope.

“I would love a “white knight” to come in and say, ‘Let’s do something and maybe go in a different direction,’” he said, letting the world know he’s still entertaining offers to save Valentinos.

The shop is scheduled to close for good in just a few weeks.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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