Alfred Angelo bridal retail stores across the country closed suddenly this week, apparently leaving brides and bridesmaids in the lurch. On Thursday, reports of local stores closing began trickling in, with no one sure whether this was happening anywhere else. Then in Florida, the Palm Beach Post reported that all the employees at the 80-year-old company’s Delray Beach headquarters were seen exiting the building, carrying cardboard boxes and plants. Though the company has yet to issue an official statement, it is reportedly about to file for bankruptcy.
This is scary news for women who have already paid for their dresses but have yet to receive them from the store.
“I’m getting married in 64 days, and I’m starting from scratch with no dress money anymore,” Amber McGraw tells Yahoo Style. The college student had found her perfect dress at the Alfred Angelo store in Dublin, Ohio, in June. She didn’t buy it right away because she had to attend her National Guard summer training. Unfortunately, she was delayed further by an accident in training that broke both her feet. In late June, someone from the store called to tell her they were no longer ordering dresses, but she could buy hers off the rack.
McGraw went in this Tuesday to try to buy her dress off the rack. It was two sizes too big, but the sales associate said that was all they could offer. “She told me there was a new president or CEO in charge of the company and they were changing the way they were going to run it,” McGraw says. The store employee also said this restructuring meant they couldn’t take credit cards. She went back on Wednesday with a personal check for $1,000.
“They took my check and said that they found my same dress in Nebraska at one of their other stores that was in better condition,” McGraw says. “So I walked out with an IOU and a receipt. I woke up today to my fiancé calling saying, ‘You need to look at the news.'”
Brides all over the country are in the same boat, tweeting about their woes with the hashtag #alfredangelo, and commenting on the company’s Facebook page.
— Bravo Royalty (@BravoRoyalty) July 13, 2017
Some brides have formed a support group on Facebook, where in addition to commiserating, they are trying to swap donated dresses. “I’ve seen three people offer their dresses on Twitter,” McGraw says. “But they’re very petite ladies. I’m between a 14 and 15 dress size.”
— Cassandra Duck (@CassieDuck814) July 14, 2017
Many have also spared a moment in their panic to express sympathy for the Alfred Angelo employees who lost their jobs.
— Laura Roach (@L_RO12) July 14, 2017
On the door of many of the shuttered stores is the email address of Patricia Redmond, a lawyer in Florida representing the company. Though Redmond has not yet responded to Yahoo’s request for comment, WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids, Mich., reached her on Friday. Redmond said the company is planning on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate its assets and is working on a plan to deliver dresses to customers.
“It typically always gets better after the bankruptcy filing for customers who have goods that have already been purchased,” Redmond told the news outlet. “I will have a list of dresses that have been sold and are on hand, and we will go through them to get them delivered as soon as possible.”
In the meantime, David’s Bridal has stepped in to help customers of its (now former) rival. The company announced on Facebook and its website that anyone who purchased a gown at Alfred Angelo could present their receipt to get 30 percent off bridal gowns, 20 percent off bridesmaid dresses, and have rush fees for alterations waived.
“With 300+ stores nationwide, many in close proximity to Alfred Angelo locations, we are in a unique position to help brides find the dress of their dreams,” Paul Pressler, chairman and CEO of David’s Bridal, said in a statement sent to Yahoo Style. “While we do not celebrate the closure of a respected competitor, we are honored and fortunate to have the resources and ability to help assist customers impacted by this news.”
McGraw says 30 percent off won’t help her, as the $1,000 she spent was almost all of her budget.
“I’m really hoping that by some magical powers either [my Alfred Angelo dress] is going to show up on my doorstep, or someone will drop off another dress at my doorstep,” McGraw says.
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