For brides-to-be shopping at Alfred Angelo Bridal in Manchester, getting their hands on their dream dresses turned into a bit of a nightmare on Thursday.
"My dress that I wanted forever -- it was like my dream dress," said Connie Filintarakis, of Newington, who was in tears outside the bridal shop on Pleasant Valley Road.
Filintarakis said she had heard from a friend that the store was about to permanently close at 8 p.m. Thursday. She said she had already paid approximately $2,000 for her wedding dress, but was not scheduled to pick it up until Sunday.
With the doors about to lock for good, Filintarakis needed to get here fast.
"It was about 20 minutes and it was stressful. It was stressful thinking about what if they close," she said.
For much of the evening Thursday, brides-to-be, bridesmaids and their family members were racing inside to get what they already paid for.
"For them to call us and say 'We're closing the doors. You're not going to be able to get anything from us', it was shocking," said Sara Brewer, of Enfield, who went to the store to purchase and pick up a dress that her friend in Virginia was interested in buying.
Mollie Frish, a contract seamstress, has worked at the Alfred Angelo Bridal in Manchester for six years and said all of the employees at her store were told at the beginning of their shifts, that Thursday would be there last day of work.
According to Frish, a manager told employees that Alfred Angelo Bridal, which is based in south Florida, was shutting down dozens of locations nationwide because of financial problems.
"Many of these girls, this is their livelihood and they are without a job suddenly. Are they going to get paid? We don't know," said Frish.
Customers and employees said this store is in the process of shipping dresses to people who had already paid for the items but were unable to make it by closing time.
Officials from the Department of Consumer Protection said Friday that they are in the process of contacting the store.
They advise customers to gather all copies of contracts, proof of payments made and put together a summary of the status of transactions with Alfred Angelo, including estimated delivery dates, scheduled fittings and any other arrangements that were made and contact the department.
A sign on the store listed an email address for cutomers to contact. Click here to send an email to the store.
Alfred Angelo posted the following statement on their website:
"Alfred Angelo filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 14, 2017. As a result, all stores and wholesalers are closed. Margaret Smith was appointed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee. If you wish to be contacted regarding your order status once information is available please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post additional information regarding the status of dresses on this web-site as it becomes available.
We apologize for the inconvenience and hardship resulting from this event. We appreciate your patience. Thank you."