The bankruptcy of a major wedding dress supplier has stranded brides at the proverbial altar and sent bridal shops scrambling at the height of the wedding season.
A business in Spokane is among those left in the lurch with the Chapter 7 filing Friday of Alfred Angelo Bridal, which subsequently closed its 60 stores in the U.S. as well as others in Canada, Europe and Japan, and halted orders placed by bridal shops that sell the dresses.
“We still haven’t heard from Alfred Angelo,” Bridal Collection’s Judie Trygg said Monday, noting she found out about the bankruptcy and resulting closures through an Alfred Angelo sales rep Thursday who had been told he was out of a job.
The owner of the bridal shop at 3131 N. Division St. has 20 orders – mostly bridesmaids dresses – for weddings between now and December that are affected. Two dresses are in transit, she believes, and she’s hoping they arrive this week.
If Alfred Angelo’s dresses weren’t on their way to shops by Friday’s bankruptcy filing, brides will have to find replacements for themselves and their wedding parties. Any money paid toward their dresses, Trygg said, isn’t refundable.
According to the Alfred Angelo website, All About You Bridal and Prom, in Coeur d’Alene, also carries the company’s dresses. The Coeur d’Alene business is closed on Mondays and a representative could not be reached for comment.
At Bridal Collections in Spokane, Trygg is focused on helping her customers with Plan Bs, and she’s finding them very understanding and “dealing with it.”
“As soon as we found out Thursday afternoon, we started working with our customers,” Trygg said Monday. “We emailed every customer on Friday, and we were hoping to find out by today or tomorrow if their dresses have been shipped or not.”
Not counting on receiving more Alfred Angelo dresses, the woman who opened Bridal Collections in 1981 is moving forward, working with her brides to order other dresses from other companies, if time allows, or finding pieces among present stock, like she was able to do Monday with local soon-to-be-bridesmaid Nevada Van Komen. She wouldn’t have an Angelo dress to wear otherwise, parts of two Angelo dresses were used to provide Van Komen with the desired color and style.
Although the summer timing of the Alfred Angelo bankruptcy is bad – the June-August time frame is peak wedding season – it could be worse for Bridal Collections and its customers. Trygg said most of the dresses for her customers’ August weddings are in house.
Trygg said the cost of the Angelo bridesmaids dresses sold by Bridal Collections runs from $99 to $300, with most in the $150-to-$180 range; wedding gowns range from $600 to $2,000.
Trygg, who along with her staff was busy Monday discounting Alfred Angelo pieces up to 30 percent, is trying to get word out among her business peers that she has Alfred Angelo dresses in stock and available if they have a stranded bride in need. She said a couple of wedding gown companies also have stepped up and are waiving their “rush” delivery charges for brides with weddings planned in the next few weeks.
“Normal delivery isn’t going to help a lot of the girls around the country,” Trygg said.
A lawyer for a Miami law firm retained to manage the case said she will work with a court-appointed trustee to release bridal dresses being held by the company’s stores, which closed Thursday. Patricia Redmond, of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadoff & Sitterson, said last week in a telephone interview she had received more than 3,500 emails from panicked brides.
Redmond said she will ask a court-appointed trustee for the case to release dresses being held in the stores awaiting pickup by brides-to-be, and will do her best to persuade the trustee to release a $1.2 million shipment coming from China, so brides can receive the dresses they ordered.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, which is voluntary, lists assets of $50,000 or less for Alfred Angelo. Redmond said that’s because the company kept little inventory, mostly ordering dresses for brides. Top creditors are Czech Asset Management of Connecticut, a portfolio company, for $54 million; and CardConnect, a credit card processor, for up to $5 million, Redmond said. After that, there likely will be dress manufacturers in China filing claims, she said.
Alfred Angelo’s board met July 10 to “take whatever steps necessary with respect to its financial condition” and to retain Stearns Weaver Miller, the court document shows.
In addition to its stores, Alfred Angelo dresses were placed with 1,400 retailers worldwide, Bridal Collections and All About You Bridal and Prom among them.
Alfred Angelo Bridal was started more than 80 years ago by Alfred Angelo Piccione and Edythe Vincent Piccione, according to the corporate history on the company’s website.
As for Trygg, her frustration with the bridal industry icon is evident.
“I’m disappointed in Alfred Angelo as far as not notifying all the brides so they could come in and pick (their dresses) up and pay them off,” she said. “They left a lot of brides in the middle of nowhere.”
The Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.
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