Shelves are lined with the heads of different mascots and monsters along an upstairs wall in the shop. Three pendant lights, two shaped like stars, the other an orb, hang from the ceiling.

Mascots and monsters for any occasion can be found at Starline Costumes. Photo by Jacqueline Knox.

When Starline Costumes, a cherished costume sales and rental shop in San Antonio, announced it would be closing last October, customers took to social media to express their sadness. “This has been my Fiesta Parade and especially my Halloween haven since 1996. This is truly an end of an era,” posted a customer on the store’s Facebook page. “So sad! A San Antonio institution. Starline will be greatly missed,” said another.

Since 1972, the shop located in the city’s west side was a go-to spot, costuming everyone from students in the local high school play to Halloween partygoers to Coyote, the San Antonio Spurs mascot.

Starline Costumes

Address: 1286 Bandera Road
Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Phone: 210-435-3535

But the sadness was short-lived—two weeks after owner Julie Keck, who took over the store from her mother in the 1980s, announced her retirement and the store’s ultimate end, customers were excited to learn that new leadership would take over the 4,000-square-foot store. This wouldn’t be Starline’s last curtain call.

Jacob Dell, a San Antonio businessman and lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Alvarez College of Business, first heard about Starline through one of his employees at JJD Productions. The company produces stage shows at theme parks, and the employee went to Starline in search of discounted costumes. When Dell visited the store for the first time, he felt a connection to it and went home to tell his wife, Rachel, that he wants to buy it.

The couple went to look at the store together and two months later they were signing the paperwork to take it over.

“It’s been around for so long in San Antonio and there was such an outpouring from people—just sad that it was going to be gone,” says Rachel, now the assistant store manager. “It’s a small landmark in the city, so we were happy to work things out to get it. We’ve had so many people already come into the store saying how happy they are we haven’t closed. We’re glad that we provide that for the community.”

A lot of the employees decided to stay with Starline as the leadership transitioned over. Rachel says that she and her husband are very grateful for the employees as they have been extremely welcoming and have taught them a lot about the store.

Costumes and other items line two walls of a narrow aisle inside the shop.

The shop has thousands of costumes and can make custom costumes if needed. Photo by Jacqueline Knox.

The downstairs storefront offers everyday costumes, theater makeup, and accessories, while upstairs holds the huge rental area. While anyone can rent one of their over 50,000 costumes, Starline’s bread and butter comes from costuming high school plays—it just outfitted students at Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School for their recent production of Mamma Mia.

“Anything you could ever come up with, we will have on a second story in the rental department, from Avengers to fantasy, and then all different time periods,” Rachel says. “And during holiday seasons, we rent out Santa and elf costumes and other things like that.”

Starline even has an entire mascot department. They are famous for outfitting the Spurs’ Coyote, and the Missions’ Henry the Puffy Taco, as well as some of the university mascots in the area.

Rachel says it has been fun to accessorize Coyote based on costume ideas that he has. They created a New York Ball costume that lit up for him to wear on New Year’s Eve.

Like Julie Keck and her mother before her, the team at Starline is excited to continue serving and costuming the local community—whether a customer wants to be a princess or Pacman. They’ll even custom-make costumes.

“If we don’t have it, we will make it because that means there’s a hole in our inventory that we need to fill,” Rachel says. “If you can dream it, we can make it happen.”


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