Oct 15, 2013 1:41 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Local bride upset over news of Arroyo Grande bridal store closure

One local bride said she had a pre-wedding scare after finding out the store she ordered her wedding dress from, had gone out of business. That store is Down the Aisle in Arroyo Grande. According to the bridal salon's Facebook page, the business had been in operation for nine years in the village of Arroyo Grande, on Branch Street. Last Wednesday, the store announced it had closed its doors due to a family emergency.

Arroyo Grande resident and bride-to-be Vanessa Gillard said she could hear wedding bells ever since she was a little girl. Her love for small businesses brought her to Down the Aisle in hopes of finding the perfect wedding dress to do just that- walk down the aisle.

Gillard said in August, she visited the store and tried on between 10 to 15 dresses before, "An employee there actually brought another dress in and said 'just try this on'. I put it on. I was in love. I looked in the mirror, I had never seen myself look that way, and I knew it was the one."

Gillard said she put down a $750 payment for her fitted, corset-like white gown that same day in August. Her wedding is next June.

But, on Sunday, she found out Down the Aisle had closed. And Gillard said she did not find out directly from owner Sharon Ellenson, like she had hoped.

"No what are you talking about, it can't be closed down, they have my money and my dress," said Gillard.

Gillard said she called the store's phone number, but the mailbox was full. She finally found the announcement of the closure on Down the Aisle's Facebook page, and there she also found an email on how to contact Ellenson.

Ellenson declined an on-camera interview, but told KSBY News on Monday that she was forced to close her doors because of a family emergency. She said she had planned on contacting all of her customers, but had been busy the last few days. Ellenson said she hopes her customers will understand what she is dealing with, and said she plans on working with each bride-to-be individually, to sort out dress orders or possible refunds.

Gillard said she understands Ellenson's current hardship and feels sympathetic towards her family situation. However, Gillard stated, "How difficult is it to leave a message for your brides-to-be. We're not just buying a pair of shoes here. This is our big day."

Ellenson said concerned customers can contact her on the e-mail address located on Down the Aisle's Facebook page. Gillard said she e-mailed Ellenson on Sunday night, and Ellenson returned the e-mail on Monday morning.

Gillard said she worked out with Ellenson that she will receive the in-store wedding dress she had tried on in August, instead of a brand-new dress she had pre-ordered. Gillard said she will not have to pay more than the original $750 deposit fee, and she is appreciative of that.

Business owners next to Down the Aisle add that Ellenson is covering her bases and has given her contact information even to them, in case brides come in to their stores, to inquire about the closure of Down the Aisle.



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