Brides in Coral Gables, Sunrise and across the country are being stood up at the store entrance.
Alfred Angelo, a Delray Beach bridal gown chain with more than 60 stores nationwide, as well as partnerships with more than 1,400 retailers, has suddenly closed all of its store locations without any warning, leaving brides-to-be wondering if they'll receive their wedding dress or get a refund.
Friday, the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, said the company’s attorney Patricia Redmond, of Miami law firm Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, meaning a trustee will liquidate remaining assets and distribute proceeds to creditors.
As for wedding parties who have placed orders, “We will work to try to assist the brides as much as we can,” she said. That includes brides whose gowns have already been delivered to stores and those whose garments are in transit from China. She expects to have a list of goods in transit next week, she said.
Many brides-to-be took to social media to vent their thoughts and anger at the company for closing without warning right in the middle of the summer, which is the busiest time of the year for weddings.
“My wedding is in 29 days. I'm glad orange is my wedding color because I'm gonna be married in jail if I can't get my dresses," tweeted Ashley Austin.
The Coral Gables store at 246 Miracle Mile closed Friday. Visitors were greeted with a white print-out on the front door that read “STORE CLOSED” and offered Redmond’s email for questions. In an interview, Redmond said the company asked stores to ship out dresses earmarked for brides before closing and that the Gables location seemed to have complied since she has not been contacted by customers from that location desperate for dresses.
“If no news is good news, then that’s the case,” said Redmond, who said she has fielded more than 7,000 emails and phone calls since her contact information went up on Alfred Angelo stores across the country. “And brides are pretty vocal.”
The company was founded in 1933 by Alfred Angelo and his wife, Edythe Piccione, in Philadelphia. In the 1960s, their children, Vincent and Michele Piccione, began running the company, which they would do for the next 35 years. It was under the children's leadership that the company expanded its retail stores across the country.
Company employees told the Wall Street Journal that no warning was given about the stores closing until Thursday morning — when they were told the stores would close for good at the end of the work day. Store managers were told to return their keys after closing time.
Redmond said the company had been actively seeking an investor or purchaser for several years but did not receive any viable offers.
According to the Palm Beach Post, employees at Alfred Angelo’s corporate office in Delray Beach left the building en masse Thursday, carrying boxes, plants and other personal belongings, as news spread on social media that the stores were closing.
David's Bridal, a competitor of Alfred Angelo, didn't waste any time after hearing the news. In a tweet to worried brides and grooms, David's promised that there was a light at the end of the altar: It's offering discounts to those affected by their rival's store closures, with 30 percent discounts to brides left without gowns and 20 percents on bridesmaids’ dresses.
Miami Herald staff writers Jane Wooldridge and Doug Hanks contributed to this report.