Panic turns to relief for some brides at shuttered West Covina Alfred Angelo

By Titus Wu

As news of a bridal shop’s bankruptcy traveled, soon-to-be brides rushed to the West Covina store in a panic.

Alfred Angelo, a Florida-based nationwide chain, shut all 60 shops this week — including locations in West Covina, Brea, Rancho Cucamonga and more — as it entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The retailer, known for its Disney-themed designs, also has partnerships with some 1,400 retailers.

Word spread Friday on social media.

In West Covina, former Alfred Angelo employees who found themselves jobless Friday were still on site, handing out ordered dresses to customers.

They stopped by the wedding dress retailer in small numbers, anxiously waiting outside for employees to emerge.

Covina resident Molly Morales was picking up a dress and wedding accessories for her daughter-in-law, who’s getting married in March.

Morales said her daughter-in-law got a call Wednesday to pick up her dress and planned to come by during the weekend.

“But she got a call today that it went bankrupt,” Morales said. “She’s crying and crying. She’s hysterical. She’s freaking out, so she sent me to see if it was true.”

Despite the confusion, Morales was able to get everything from the store that morning. The items were already at the store, ready to be shipped out.

Brides or bridal parties who have been impacted by the sudden closures have been advised to contact attorney Patricia A. Redmond with the Miami-based law firm Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff&Sitterson. Redmond could not be reached Friday, and her assistant couldn’t provide any information either.

“We have no comment at this time,” she said.

For rapidly approaching weddings, brides and customers of Angelo’s might be out of luck.

Corali Lopez-Castro, a partner at KozyakTropin& Throckmorton, has handled retail bankruptcies in the past.

All decisions about dresses, she said, are up to a trustee, not the company, in a Chapter 7 filing, which indicates an asset liquidation vs. a Chapter 11 restructuring.

“It would seem to me that the better course of business would be to release the dress to the customer,” Lopez-Castro said. Not doing so, she said, would be a “public relations nightmare and frankly chaos.”

West Covina resident Leslie Lee, 28, was referred to Alfredo Angelo by a friend.

At the store Friday, she said she liked the service she’s received, and even left a positive review for the location on Yelp.

“Alfred Angelo was recommended by my friend. Never expected to find my dress here,” she wrote in February, giving the shop five stars.

The news of the bankruptcy took her by surprise.

“I broke down and cried,” Lee said, who found out from a friend’s Facebook post. “A couple of friends brought their dresses over here, too. They don’t know what’s going on.”

She rushed to the store to find that her dress, which cost upwards of $2,000, was safe and would still arrive in time for her wedding in November, she said.

A friend worked for Alfred Angelo, Lee said.

“She even said the employees didn’t even know about (the bankruptcy),” Lee said. “She went to work early in the morning and was told the bad news.”

Affected customers looking to get a dress elsewhere may be in luck as some competitors are offering deals.

David’s Bridal will offer people with an Alfred Angelo receipt 30 percent off wedding dresses, 20 percent off bridesmaid dresses, rush fees waived and alteration services for Alfred Angelo dresses.

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