Bridal store bankruptcy leaves brides and industry insiders with questions

The closure of a long-time Edmonton bridal boutique is leaving some wedding parties scrambling. 

Sonya Dyck considers herself one of the lucky ones. She will be getting her dress next week.

“I got a phone call last Tuesday from Urban Bride saying ‘We don’t know if it’s reached the news or not but The Bridal House has had some financial hardships.

“‘The designer has your back. She will be shipping your dress to our store to be picked up.'”

Bride-to-be Sonya Dyck ordered her dress from The Bridal House but a second boutique, Urban Bride, has stepped in to receive her dress instead. (Hugo Levesque/CBC)

A weekend clear-out sale, being run by bankruptcy trustee Faber Inc., began Friday morning with little fanfare. About a dozen deal-hunting brides were waiting when the doors opened.

The Bridal House filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 10 after nearly 30 years in business. On its website, owner Natalie Duhaime-Bartlett posted that she started the business with her parents and knew that the closure would affect many brides. 

A post on The Bridal House website. (https://thebridalandtuxedohouse.com/)

Multiple requests for comment from CBC News went unanswered.

In that post, Bartlett blamed the closure on the impacts of COVID-19 and provided information for brides to contact their dress designers. 

Heather Dymchuk, the owner of Bridal Debut in Sherwood Park, Alta., is fielding calls daily from brides who are impacted. (Google meet)

Local wedding groups on Facebook were flooded with posts from people looking for answers or trying to alert others that they were having problems with the store. Some of them indicate that deposits never made it to the designers. Dyck said she was one of them. 

“The designer understands what is going on with the situation and they will work with the other bridal store and get my dress shipped over to them although the deposit that I paid here, I guess, I don’t know what happened to it.”

Heather Dymchuk, the owner of Bridal Debut in Sherwood Park, said she noticed some chatter started about a month ago among customers that something was off.

“[They would say] we tried to go to Bridal House today we couldn’t get in. They were closed because of a COVID outbreak and only people who were picking up dresses were allowed in.”

“That’s when the flags went up for me,” Dymchuk said.

Dymchuk did talk to Duhaime-Bartlett when the chatter started and was told that the closure was coming. The news came as a shock especially as she continues to learn more about the situation.

She continues to hear from brides on a daily basis who are looking for help. 

Stores around town have stepped in with offers to receive dresses from the designers if needed. Some stores and designers are offering discounts and waiving deposits for brides that were impacted as well.

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