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Area bridal shop steps in to help brides-to-be

October 07, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Chambersburg, Pa. - The sudden closing of a Camp Hill, Pa., bridal shop left dozens of brides-to-be in a lurch, but a local shop is doing its best to make sure the women will still wear their dream gowns.

"It's been a nightmare for consumers and gives our industry a black eye," said Jim Resh, owner of J&B Bridals on South Main Street in Chambersburg.

When Resh learned about the closing of Kimberly's Bridals and Formals in neighboring Cumberland County, Pa., he offered through a Harrisburg, Pa., newspaper a 25 percent discount on any of the 500 dresses he has in stock to women who ordered through Kimberly's.

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Plus, he and daughter Jackie Resh, a store manager, have spent countless hours on the phone calling manufacturers to help the women get dresses that may already be completed and just awaiting shipping.

Jackie Resh said around eight women have contacted the store for help. One woman came in two weekends ago after learning about Kimberly's closing.

Lorie Keifer, 20, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., knows she is one of the lucky ones.

"I had been there a week before it closed. I found the dress I wanted and went back to take a picture of it. When I got there, they were closed," Keifer said.

She is thankful she didn't leave a deposit - and that she found out a little about the gown.

She was able to locate it online and found out J&B was the only shop in the region who carried the collection.

Saturday she made the hour-long trip from Mechanicsburg to J&B Bridals. As luck would have it, the shop had the dress in her size and Keifer is taking the store piece and getting a discount.

The spaghetti strap dress is simple, with some rhinestone details, she said, just what she had in mind for her May 24 wedding.

But while things are working out in Keifer's favor, she said the experience was unsettling.

"I was in there a week before. I think they should have had some idea then, instead of letting people get their hearts set on something," she said.

Searching for the perfect wedding gown brings all kind of emotions and stress, and for some women who were only weeks away from their weddings, it has been hard to help them, Jim Resh said.

"We're trying to help some of these girls out with some connections with manufacturers," Jackie Resh said. "Your heart goes out to these girls. For shops like us who try to go the extra mile, we don't want something like this to ruin our reputation."

The state Attorney General's office is working with store owner Barbara Hoffman, and her daughter Kimberly Hoffman, who operated the store, to help the dozens of brides-to-be track down their dresses, said Seth Mendelsohn, deputy attorney general.

"I applaud other bridal shops who are helping out," he said.

Mendelsohn said the store closed its doors Sept. 6, and a week later his office started getting calls from distraught brides-to-be.

"Normally we don't speak to consumers right away. But in this case, because some women were getting married this past Saturday (Sept. 28) we had to change our investigation procedures," he said. "Time is of the essence for many brides."

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