'Complete despair to total hope': Local bridal stores rebound after vendor's sudden bankruptcySubmitted: 08/11/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

'Complete despair to total hope':  Local bridal stores rebound after vendor's sudden bankruptcy
RIB MOUNTAIN - At Elegant Occasions in Rib Mountain, owner Greta Wood enjoyed a good relationship with bridal dressmaking company Alfred Angelo for 15 years.

That is, until last month.

"They stopped answering their phone," Wood said. "They also weren't returning emails."

"It came out of nowhere," said Brook Van Vuren.

Van Vuren is the co-owner of Thelma's Bridal in Rothschild.

"When we went online to check it out, there was not a website," said Van Vuren. "It said bankruptcy."

Alfred Angelo, which had been producing dresses since 1933, abruptly declared bankruptcy and immediately shut down last month.

That left some wedding groups without the dresses and gowns they had ordered from Alfred Angelo.

Within 12 hours, independent retailers like Elegant Occasions teamed up on Facebook.

"We could get together and say, okay, here's all the Alfred Angelo gowns I have. Who needs what? Conversely, to say, here are the gowns I need to fulfill my customer orders. Who's got them?" said Wood. "It went from this terrible situation to all of us getting together and saying, 'You know what? Together we are stronger, and let's all work this out.' There's no point in being mad."

The social media push is working. Wood has sent dresses as far away as New Zealand for brides in the last month.

"It's actually come full circle, going from complete despair to total hope," Wood said.

The Angelo dresses still at local shops have been marked down. Most are selling at half off.

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