Bridesmaid and wedding dress company Alfred Angelo this week abruptly shut its doors, leaving customers in Southern California scrambling without many alternatives.
Helen Rivera, 35, is getting married in November with 12 bridesmaids at her side. But, when she arrived at the Alfred Angelo store in West Covina Friday to pick up the last bridesmaid dress, she was shocked to see a sign reading "STORE CLOSED” taped to the window, along with an email address for the company’s law firm.
According to NBC4, customers with outstanding orders or who want to file a claim were told to contact the law firm:
Patricia A. Redmond, Esquire
Stearns Weaver Miller
150 West Flagler Street
Miami, Florida, 33130
KPCC emailed the law firm listed on the store's door, but has received no reply. No one answered the phone at the corporate offices either.
Rivera, like many of the women seeking their dresses, had heard about the store's closing from news reports. None had received a notice from the store itself.
For Rivera, it was the final straw in a string of unfortunate events. She was hit by a drunk driver last month, spent a week in the hospital with internal bleeding and couldn't pick up the dress while she was recovering. She sat on the concrete steps outside the store, weeping.
"All 12 girls are special to me. This dress is for my fiancé's cousin. She was the first one who made me feel part of the family," she said. "I thought everybody was nice, everything was going good until this. And it’s like, why can’t we get our dresses? Why can’t we just get our dresses?"
The Wall Street Journal reported the day before that Alfred Angelo, which has been in the bridal business since the 1930s, was planning to file for bankruptcy protection and that stores would close at 8 p.m.
Employees at the West Covina location were briefly seen at the store Friday morning. They would not speak to reporters, but told a group of worried customers to contact the law firm listed on the door and that the company had not paid them for work this week.
Local brides and bridesmaids milled in front of the store for hours, each one peering nervously through the windows and knocking on the glass. Many said their dresses were inside the store and already paid for. No information was available on whether dresses would be shipped to customers or if refunds would be given out.
Another bridesmaid, Natalie Buck, said most formal dresses take two to three months to be made, so brides with summer and fall weddings will be scrambling to find alternatives.
She ordered her bridesmaid dress last month for an October wedding, adding that it was difficult for the wedding party to decide on a style.
“When you have six bridesmaids, it’s kind of like herding cats. So finally agreeing on something was great,” she said, adding the bride was worried about the next steps. "I told her ‘Calm down. Don’t worry about it. We’ll fix it. We have time.’"
Buck paid with her Visa card, and called the credit card company this morning.
“They said that if the company doesn’t follow through then they will give me my money, and they will go after Alfred Angelo,” she said.
Want to help? Then here's where you come in: Rivera is looking for a size 8 dress in the color Merlot. If you have an old bridesmaid dress that meets this description, let us know.
This story has been updated.