Scranton’s ‘Costume Master’ Retiring; Taney’s up for Sale

SCRANTON, Pa. -- This Halloween will be the last for Scranton's costume master, but the owner of Taney's Costume Shop hopes that someone will pick up the spooky piece of Electric City history.

Jim O'Hora has been at the helm of the 92-year-old shop on North Washington Avenue in Scranton for almost 45 of its years all because of a promise to his old boss, Pierce L. Taney.

"He ended up dying here at the store, and I was there at the time, and he literally died in my arms. The last thing he said to me before he passed away was, 'Watch the store until I come back from the hospital,' so I'm still here," O'Hora said.

Not much has changed in those 92 years. Taney's started as a supplier to Scranton's Vaudeville scene in the 1930s. Some famous people wore Mr. Taney's creations.

"His first customers were Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, people like that who were doing Vaudeville here," O'Hora added.

In more modern times, Taney's has been a popular place to pick out a Halloween costume.

But this will be O'Hora's final Halloween season. He's hoping to avoid Mr. Taney's fate.

"A lot of people are very upset over it and don't want me to retire, but I've got to do what I've got to do," he said.

O'Hora is hoping that someone will want to buy Taney's. $100,000 buys the business and all of its inventory, including more than 10,000 costumes.

"It's priced to sell, but it has to be a creative person. Not just anybody can walk in and say 'Gee, this would be fun.' It's fun, but it's work," O'Hora said.

O'Hora hopes this isn't the shop's final bow, just a costume change.

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