A wedding dress specialist from MIDDLEWICH has received a cash increase from the government to help him through the pandemic.
Willow Bridal Boutique is one of 116,000 companies in the Northwest sharing £ 4.4 billion in support through a loan program.
Owner Helen Williams was given a bounce back loan to provide cash flow while her business was closed for three months during the lockdown.
The mother of two said, “The bounce back loan was critical to making sure we were able to pay some of our supplier invoices. This covered both our own inventory items, but more importantly to us were some of our brides wedding dresses that were due for delivery.
“Designers would have kept dresses until we could talk to the brides, but we wanted to pick them up and pay bills before the brides paid us back at a later date.
“We have always put our brides first in every situation and the fact that we were able to receive their dresses has brought much-needed happiness and joy to every bride, especially given the fact that many have jeopardized their wedding plans . ”
The coronavirus has devastated many couples as weddings could only be held with a handful of guests under strict restrictions and uncertainty persists.
“As an industry, it was absolutely devastating,” said Helen. “Brides are not sure whether their wedding will take place with 30 guests or 100 guests. Many have been planning their weddings for two years.
“We canceled or postponed 92 weddings and the dresses are still there. We have 40 to be delivered.”
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Helen still wants to give brides the joy of trying on wedding dresses
Helen reopened her store on Wheelock Street in June and brides can still come for a try as tough new coronavirus measures have been put in place.
“Brides can still try on dresses,” said Helen. “We don’t want that experience to change. All clothes are now in pockets. Brides can still handle clothes with peace of mind, but anyone that is tried on must be steamed or disinfected before putting them back on the clothes rail. ”
Appointments have to be booked as only one bride can be in the shop at a time.
Helen’s award-winning boutique specializes in luxurious modern wedding dresses and offers some of the most elite wedding dresses in Cheshire.
Brides travel from all over the country as Helen is the only UK retailer of Matthew Christopher Van der Velde designer clothes.
Helen is confident the weddings will resume as couples postpone their big day to 202l.
“We’re going to have a wedding every day of the week starting February,” she said. “We usually have up to 200 weddings a year.
“As a company, we’re busier than we expected and we’re very excited to be emerging.
“We have some nice things planned for autumn and winter and I am very happy that we are going to be as normal as possible again.”