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Brides-to-be and bridesmaids lined up outside Jolie Bridal on Saturday morning, crossing their fingers and hoping their dresses were inside. However, most walked out empty-handed after the store closed without notice earlier this week.
“Things like this don’t happen overnight. I’m sure their financial situation was bad for a while, and they should have stopped doing business and not jeopardize people’s special day,” said Victoria Quasim, who had ordered and put a deposit down on a bridesmaid dress. Quasim is now the only one of seven bridesmaids without a dress to wear for a wedding that’s only weeks away.
This was a common story among the roughly 20 people who waited outside the dress shop, located in the St. Clair West neighbourhood, as bailiffs let customers in two at a time to see what could be done to help them.
Throughout the morning, only one wedding dress was handed to its owner before the bailiffs closed up the shop.
“They said I’m lucky and I should buy a lottery ticket tonight because I was the only person who picked up a dress,” explained Kristina Branmitskaya as she walked out of the shop. Her wedding has since been cancelled, and she plans on selling the dress online.
A bailiff at the shop on Saturday morning told Global News there are about half a dozen dresses in the basement of the shop that they’d like to hand over to customers. The bailiffs may have to return and reopen the store next weekend in an effort to connect with more people who couldn’t be reached prior to Saturday.
Bailiffs are liquidating the store to try and recoup some of the money owed to St. Fidelis Properties, the building’s management company, which posted a notice in the store’s window advising Jolie Bridal’s owners that they were in arrears by $32,770 — the equivalent of five months’ rent. Once the merchandise is dealt with, all of the assets belonging to Jolie Bridal will be sold off and the money collected will be given to the property management company.
“They were still pushing in June to order dresses. I came with my mom and I came with her for a second dress for her, and they were like, ‘Yeah, take it, take it. Take this one, it looks good.’ They were saying: ‘We’ll give you 20 per cent off, we’ll give 50 per cent off.’ They were very pushy in June,” explained Janeta Pereira, who is a bridesmaid in her cousin’s wedding, the only one now without a dress for which she handed over a $300 down payment.
Customers are being told to contact the dress manufacturer to see if the garments have been ordered and, if they have, customers can then change the delivery location. If they haven’t been ordered, patrons are left with few options.
“I have a little hope. They gave us the supplier number. It was ordered; it’s in Montreal. I’m just going to contact the supplier now, and we’re going to go from there,” said Charmaine Garrick as she left the shop. Her wedding is at the end of August.
But not everyone was that lucky. Kristina Manorath ordered her dress in January and was reassured by the shop’s owners that it was on its way. She found out on Saturday that it wasn’t coming. Her wedding is only two weeks away.
“Just like every other girl who dreams about their wedding, I do, too. I know it’s going to be a spectacular day. It’s going to be perfect, and we’ll have a story to tell our kids,” said Manorath.
Anyone concerned about garments ordered from Jolie Bridal is being asked to contact Kennedy & Associates Bailiffs Inc., or their dress’ manufacturer.
Global News attempted to contact the store owner but there was no answer at the store’s phone number, nor was the owner at the shop while bailiffs tried to help customers. Global News also attempted to contact the owner earlier in the week but she appeared to have changed her phone number.
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