Always and Forever Bridal Boutique closed its door unexpectedly this week, leaving several brides uncertain about whether or not they'll get their dresses for their big day, or their money back.
The Star Gazette has heard from several callers wondering about the closure. In one case, the father of the bride paid $1,000 for his daughter's dress, which hasn't been delivered yet. Now he's left wondering if he'll get his money back.
The boutique's owner is Breana (Adamus) Girgen. She opened the business with Adam Girgen in October 2011. It was located at 1806 Vermillion Street. The website for the business is no longer in operation and the store has been cleaned out.
There are two posts to the Always and Forever page on Facebook from desperate brides.
"My wedding is one month from today and they just won't answer the phone or respond to any emails, website is gone, etc," one wrote.
Another wrote: "I need to find the owner of this store. We ordered tuxedos for a wedding in three weeks and the doors are locked and store is empty. Any help is greatly appreciated!"
Daniel M. Gallatin of Gallatin Law provided an emailed statement Thursday afternoon as Always and Forever Bridal Boutique's representative stating that customers can still expect to get their apparel.
"Always & Forever Bridal Boutique has made the extremely difficult decision to discontinue its business," Gallatin wrote. "This decision came only after years of commitment to the company and substantial personal investment by the Girgens to try and make the bridal experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible for their cherished clients. Contrary to the misinformation published, the Girgens are working diligently to accommodate all of the people who have done business with Always & Forever Bridal Boutique to ease their transition to other boutiques. We do not expect any customers to be without their apparel on their wedding day."
A recent customer was happy to hear that, she said, but she's already moved on and purchased a dress from somewhere else.
"Unfortunately, I have become a member of the failed bridal shop sisterhood. I take offense to their claims of 'working diligently to accommodate' the brides. I have been trying to contact the shop and Brea since Aug. 24 and have yet to hear anything. Due to my total lack of confidence in them and their claims of assistance, I have already re-purchased my dress through another shop that was able to find it at the factory in California. I have also filed civil proceedings to claim the funds I paid to the Hastings shop."
Her story is echoed by a bridal shop in Woodbury named Bella Bridal Boutique.
"We have had two brides contact us both with October weddings who have been calling the business for weeks with no response – the first bride called us and asked if there was anything we could do to get her gown for her, so we contacted the manufacturer, Maggie Sottero. The manufacturer then tried to contact the business owner multiple times without any response and then released the order over to us so the bride could get her gown. This bride paid Always and Forever with a check so she has no recourse to get her money back short of going to small claims court. And now unfortunately is having to essentially purchase the same gown twice.
"The second bride was referred to us from Maggie Sottero, the same manufacturer we called for our first bride. From all the information we have gotten thus far, it does not look like Always and Forever is doing anything for these brides. I want these brides to be aware of the situation so they can be proactive versus thinking they are still going to receive merchandise that is not coming. While writing this email I have a third bride who has just contacted us as well."
Always and Forever Bridal Boutique rented its space from building owner Robyn Ptacek. Ptacek said the business vacated the space without notice on Wednesday, Sept. 2. She said she knew the business was struggling, but the owners provided no information as to why they were shutting their doors.
The same building also is home to Affordable Elegance Rental, which specializes in wedding and party furniture and decor. The two businesses have no connection, however, and Affordable Elegance remains open to business.Read more at:www.mariepromdress.co.uk/graduation-dresses