ELKHART, Ind.—After years of providing Michiana brides with their dream dresses, Blushing Bride on 17 is closing its doors for good.
“I really just developed a super love for bridal and helping a woman find that perfect fit for her style or her height or her shape or whatever and the tears, I love the tears, when everybody realizes this is the one, this is the dress,” said owner Julie Dilorenzo.
Dilorenzo has spent over 25 years working in the modeling, fashion and pageant industries but now wants to focus on other priorities in her life as she enters retirement.
“I have grandchildren now and I wanted to spend more time with them because they don’t live in the state,” Dilorenzo said.
Since 2012, Blushing Bride on 17, located at 901 Parkway Avenue, has provided bridesmaids dresses, mother of the bride/groom, and special occasion apparel to Michiana shoppers.
“I wanted to be close to home so that if I needed to be here quickly I could so that’s why I chose Elkhart. I felt like they needed something new and fresh in the area so that’s why we chose the County Road 17 area,”
With the motto “love the experience,” Dilorenzo says she hopes she has served the bridal industry well over the years.
“We once had a bride come in that was diagnosed with cancer but was in recovery and we helped her find that dream dress for that day that she wasn’t sure she’d ever see,” Dilorenzo said.
Dilorenzo officially made the decision to close up shop and retire in October, giving shoppers a chance to find their perfect dresses during the “retirement sale.”
While the decision to retire was largely based on Dilorenzo’s desire to spend time with her family, she said a buying trend she’s seen over the last year was also a part of it.
“Internet shopping has really affected a lot of local store owners, be it the food market, be it accessories, be it clothing and we kind of felt that hit here a little bit,” Dilorenzo said. “It really hit us quite heavily in 2018 that we weren’t seeing the bridesmaids coming in.”
Dilorenzo said that she’s experienced many brides lately that have a list of bridesmaids who live out of state and are unable to attend in-store fittings together. In these cases, Dilorenzo said, the brides tell their party to find any dress in a specific color, foregoing the need for matching dresses.
However, the retiring owner still thinks Elkhart could use another small bridal boutique to carry on after Blushing Bride on 17 is no longer open.
“I think brides still want that experience of coming in and trying on that dress,” Dilorenzo said.
January 4 is the shop’s last day open for business as the store sells off the last remaining pieces of inventory at discounted prices.
The store space is listed for rent but there is not currently a new tenant moving in.