The Dallas Vintage Shop is a costume store in Plano. Its aisles are filled with fantasy, which hasn't mixed well with the reality of a global pandemic.
"Well, it shut us down," owner Jerry Purvis said. "Costumes are just for the happy times when things are going great, and things aren't gonna go great for a long time."
With his sales falling off a cliff, Purvis' plight was the subject of an article in NBC 5's news partner, The Dallas Morning News. The story caught the attention of retired SMU sociology professor Richard Hawkins and his wife, Fran.
"It just seemed natural to me," Hawkins said. The couple donated all $2,400 of their government stimulus checks to help the Dallas Vintage Shop keep employees working, and start making face masks to stay in business.
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"At least we can see the effect of our contribution, as small as it was," Hawkins said. "And if Jerry can keep his business going, employees paid, that really helps circulate some money in the economy that wouldn't be there otherwise."
"What Richard Hawkins did actually inspired many people to buy masks," Purvis said. "I'd rather be selling costumes for $200 to $300 a pop than a mask for $13.99, that's a lot of work, but I'll take it!"
Purvis said he looks forward to the day when people can dress up in costume again and have something to celebrate without fear.
"I think we're gonna survive it," Purvis said. "I think we're gonna survive."