After nearly four decades, Cloverdale’s costume rental shop Ye Olde Piggy Bank will soon shut its doors.
For co-owners Freda Mattern, 75, and Joanne Thompson, 72, “it’s time.”
If someone came in today and offered to buy the whole store’s stock, they’d be gone tomorrow, said Freda Mattern.
Their building has recently come under new ownership, she explained, and a rent increase has given them the extra push into retirement.
“Both me and my partner are in our 70s, and with the rent increase, it’s time,” she said.
Mattern said she hadn’t been thinking of retirement, but she knows she “has lots to do.” She may teach sewing after the store closes. She is well-qualified — she has taken courses in dressmaking, designing, millinery, pattern making, draping and more — and over the years, she has created a good deal of the costumes that Ye Olde Piggy Bank has to offer.
Ye Olde Piggy Bank started out in 1982 as a crafts, antiques and collectibles store. When several other craft stores opened in Cloverdale, Mattern, a costume maker of many years, proposed they switch their focus to renting costumes.
“It was a slow process. We still had antiques and collectibles, it was just a transition from one to the other,” she said.
Ye Olde Piggy Bank is named for the building’s origins. When it was constructed in 1912, it was the first bank in Surrey, the Bank of Montreal. It hasn’t been a bank since 1958, but certain reminders remain, such as the bank vault, which is now used as storage.
There are certain challenges to running a costume rental shop, of course. One needs to have what is popular and in demand, and in the needed sizes. Over the decades, Ye Olde Piggy Bank has amassed a huge variety of handmade costumes and vintage clothing.
“You name it, we’ve rented out for it,” said Mattern.
“One fellow rented a knight costume and he also went out to rent a horse and he proposed to his girlfriend. That was cute. That was nice.”
The most popular costumes, she said, are from the Roaring Twenties or “what they call Great Gatsby now,” medieval costumes, and period clothing from the 1950s.
“We have a lot of retro clothing all throughout the different eras,” Mattern said. “We have clothing right from the 1920s.”
“We also have a big black bear [costume] that people have rented to jump out of the bushes and scare their friends camping. It’s very lifelike,” she said, laughing.
Ye Olde Piggy Bank is currently selling its costumes, rather than renting them. As for a closing date? Mattern said, “As soon as we can.”
What she’ll miss most, she said, is Cloverdale itself.
Mattern has long been involved in the Cloverdale business community, not only as a business owner, but as a representative of the Business Improvement Association (BIA). She is a founding member of the Cloverdale BIA, and has served on the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce as well.
She is currently a BIA board member, and she said she hopes to find a way to continue to be involved in the business community after Ye Olde Piggy Bank closes.
One of the best things about being in business in Cloverdale for so long was seeing the community improve “constantly” and being a part of that change, she said.
“It wasn’t much in the beginning, but it sure is now,” she said. “At one time Cloverdale was a rodeo parade. You had that one three-day weekend where everybody came to Cloverdale and then left to go to the fairgrounds.”
Now, she said, a point of pride is the variety of events that take place throughout the town centre, all through the year.
Ye Olde Piggy Bank is located on downtown Cloverdale’s main street, at 5683 176 Street.