WEDDING WORLD Bridal shop opens; some customers leave in tears

Some women did not receive dresses or refunds.
BOARDMAN -- The doors to Wedding World opened Tuesday afternoon, but it was far from a joyous occasion for everyone waiting for wedding gowns outside the store.
Wedding World filed for bankruptcy protection and closed all of its stores with some customers' merchandise yet to be picked up. The chain has more than 20 stores, most of them in Pennsylvania. The Boardman store opened Tuesday for customers to pick up merchandise and was expected to be open today.
Got no dress
Erin Brown of Portage County stood outside Wedding World on U.S. Route 224 most of the day Monday and still left without the wedding dress she had ordered from the store. She returned Tuesday afternoon, and, though the store was now open, still left with no dress.
Brown attended a bridal show at the Southern Park Mall in January but didn't find anything she liked. She eyed Wedding World on her way out of the mall parking lot and found the dress she had been looking for. Her wedding gown, she said, had been paid in full.
By 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, a teary-eyed Brown stood in the parking lot of the bridal store holding her receipt, a piece of paper with the dress maker's phone number given to her by Wedding World employees and another piece of paper with information about the U.S. Bankruptcy Court proceedings. She said she demanded her dress or money back and store employees had her escorted outside by a police officer.
Brown said she will contact the dress maker and try to work something out. She said she does not have another $600 to buy another dress, but still plans to go forward with the wedding, scheduled in July.
"I am still going through with the wedding. I just have to save the money and start looking for another dress," she said.
Hopeful brides-to-be and their families steadily pulled into the parking lot in the early afternoon Tuesday. Some left with smiles of relief and satisfaction after having received their dresses. Others left disappointed and sometimes in tears.
No dresses
Angela Gerthung of Girard is set to be married in May. She said six of her bridesmaids' dresses were ordered through Wedding World and were not at the store for pickup Tuesday.
Gerthung said Wedding World employees gave her a number to the dress making company, where a representative said they would work with her. She said if no dresses or refund are forthcoming, she will go on with her wedding, but will lose about $425 put down as a deposit on the dresses.
Judy Kimicata, Wedding World spokeswoman, briefly stepped outside the front doors of the locked shop to address reporters Tuesday. She said employees at the store are doing what they can to help the customers. She also said no one knew of the closing until the last minute.

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