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Schenz Theatrical Supply is closing after decades of shows and White House Easter bunnies

Cites owners' deaths, COVID-19, industry changes
Jonn Schenz and Easter Bunny
Posted at 6:48 AM, Feb 27, 2022

CINCINNATI — It is curtains for a longtime costume shop, whose work has been used across the country for decades - including at the White House.

Schenz Theatrical Supply, on Colerain Avenue in Camp Washington, will close once its inventory is sold. It closes the curtain on decades of business, outfitting stage productions, parties, and mascots.

"We designed and made costumes in shop for complete shows like My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, all those as well as specialized in dance shoes, other kinds of performance costumes," said manager John Ray. "We've outfitted everything from strippers to the Opera."

Jonn Schenz started the company in 1965 and ran it with his partner Stephen Rausch until his death in 2020. Rausch died in May 2021.

Schenz and Rausch designed costumes and mascots for companies like Slush Puppy, Chiquita, Key Bank, and Hardees. In 1981, Schenz began designing and caring for Easter Bunny mascots for the annual White House Easter egg roll. He continued until his death.

Schenz Theatrical Supply
Schenz Theatrical Supply opened in 1965, serving countless productions and corporate projects, including the Easter Bunny mascots used at the White House.

In fact, the White House costumes live there and managers for the costume house said they are headed for the Smithsonian Institute.

WCPO profiled Jonn Schenz and his journey to the White House job in 2015.

"Different administrations have done it differently," Schenz said then, laughing. "I had one of the colonels of the White House military office look at me and tell me 'This is the best thing I've done since I've been in this office.'"

You can watch the feature below.

The costume house will close soon, though no exact date has been chosen, according to its manager Ray. He said much of the theatrical costume inventory had found new homes with other costume houses, leaving mainly fixtures and vintage clothing for sale in Camp Washington.

The closure is the result of a perfect storm of changes and losses.

"We've known since the owners passed away that it was going to be hard to keep going but we certainly put in a lot of effort, a lot of volunteers, a lot of people have come forward to help," Ray said. "Between the changes in the industry in the last 20 years or so and especially the COVID crisis on top of the deaths of the owners just made it impossible to go on."

Schenz Theatrical Supply is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, for now.