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St. John’s brides, businesses affected by Alfred Angelo filing for bankruptcy

The Model Shop in St. John’s is selling off its Alfred Angelo merchandise, after the Alfred Angelo Bridal company filed for bankruptcy.
The Model Shop in St. John’s is selling off its Alfred Angelo merchandise, after the Alfred Angelo Bridal company filed for bankruptcy.

Alfred Angelo was one of the world’s largest bridal retailers — until the company filed for bankruptcy on July 14.

Brides-to-be worldwide were left scrambling to find a new dress for their big day.

“It happened overnight,” said Lori Pitcher, owner of The Model Shop in St. John’s. “They didn’t give anybody any notice. To this day, the company has not contacted us.

“They were pretty much the biggest bridal supplier in the world, so no one saw this coming.”

Tilly Vatcher, owner of The Bridal Salon in St. John’s, had a similar experience.

“I haven’t heard a squeak,” said Vatcher. “It was a major shock.”

Both shops have been carrying the Alfred Angelo brand for more than 30 years.

A release on Alfred Angelo’s website states: “The Chapter 7 Trustee greatly regrets the upset that Alfred Angelo’s July 14th bankruptcy filing has caused its customers.”

The statement also explained that although the company successfully delivered many dresses to its customers, filling every open order is no longer possible.  

Many brides-to-be in the United States made their deposits directly to Alfred Angelo, and therefore have no chance of getting a refund.

Brides-to-be in St. John’s are in better luck.

“If you come through The Model Shop, we don’t pay Alfred Angelo until we get the merchandise,” Pitcher said. “Since we didn’t have the merchandise yet, we hadn’t paid for it.

“If you dealt with Alfred Angelo directly, you wouldn’t have gotten your money back.”

Both owners told The Telegram that they made sure they put the needs of their clients above all.

“It wasn’t the clients who were at fault,” said Pitcher. “But it wasn’t our fault, either. I just knew that the clock was ticking for some of the girls.

“So all of our customers are getting merchandise from another supplier, at the same price that the Alfred Angelo dresses were. We just ate the costs ourselves if it was more.”

Vatcher said she made sure this incident didn’t prevent her clients from having a stress-free day.

“I focus on the client. That’s where the trust lies,” said Vatcher. “Our clients were fabulous, and we got everything figured out pretty quickly.”

Jillian Watson is one of Vatcher’s clients, and is getting married in April 2018. She didn’t have trouble with her wedding dress, but with her bridesmaids’ dresses.

“At first it was stressful, because I’m getting married down south, so it’s costing my bridesmaids quite a bit of money for my wedding already,” said Watson. “Since the Alfred Angelo dresses were really well priced, I was nervous we weren’t going to find something as affordable.”

Watson told The Telegram that the staff at The Bridal Salon went above and beyond her expectations.

They were able to find dresses in a very similar style, while offering the same affordable price.

“Pretty much everybody in this industry knows about this now,” said Pitcher. “Especially anybody planning a wedding. We’re getting tons of people coming in asking if we are selling off the brand.”

Most of the Alfred Angelo stock is discounted up to 50 per cent.

“Once a dress is no longer orderable, it makes its way to the clearance rack,” said Vatcher. “That’s where all of Alfred Angelo will be in the next couple of weeks.”

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