The sudden closing of the Alfred Angelo bridal store left soon-to-be brides and their families in limbo Thursday.

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Your Dream. Your Dress.

At midmorning Thursday, Tukwila police officer Patrick Hisa was sent to check on a disturbance at the Alfred Angelo Bridal store near Southcenter mall in Tukwila.

“Customers were trying to force the door open,” he says.


The father of Heather Fleming, 23, of Everett, a hairstylist, had paid $1,600 for her wedding dress and assorted items such as a slip.

“They called me at 2 p.m. and said, ‘The store is closing for good at 5 p.m. The company is going bankrupt. Unfortunately, we can’t give you your money back but you can come in and look at the dresses we have,” Fleming says.

She and her boyfriend gunned it to Tukwila.

It was a similar story across the country: Customers getting calls that the nationwide chain was closing — its website says it has 60 “Signature Stores” in the United States, like the Tukwila one, and 1,400 retailers worldwide authorized to sell its dresses. As of Thursday evening the website has no official comment about what is going on.

“Your Dream. Your Dress,” is the slogan for the Delray Beach, Florida, chain.

Customers scrambling to get to the Tukwila store wanted to avoid an additional slogan, “Out of luck.”

Those who did make it had nothing but good words for the employees — the five of them on duty told customers they received notice they were laid off Thursday morning.

Officer Hisa says they chose to come in anyway and work for free to do what they could for customers. He says, “They were very emotional.”

The employees would not comment.

Ed Beck, of Kent, had gotten a frantic call from his daughter, Danielle Beck, a nurse who couldn’t get off work.

The family had paid up front $600 on a $1,200 outfit.

“They told her, ‘Get it by 5 or you don’t get it,’” Beck said.

He walked out with an outfit that wasn’t what his daughter had ordered. On the other hand, the employees let him have it at half-price to cover the $600.

The doors to the store were locked Thursday. Customers were let in one-by-one.

Waiting to get in, they commiserated.

“Why did they (expletive) all these women,” said Fleming.

Standing outside with her was Ken Ralston of Shoreline. His daughter lives in Los Angeles and is coming up here for her wedding. She got a call at 1 p.m. Dad sweated it out on the slow freeway traffic.

It turned out all her stuff was at the store and available for him to take.

“Put in a good word for them,” he said about the staff working for free.

Ralston added what’s sometimes said about events like this, “It’s corporations.”

By 5:30 the windows to the store were draped off in white.

“STORE CLOSED,” said pieces of paper taped to each door.