Closed bridal boutique leaves women without a dress

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A bridal boutique owner learns an important lesson: Don’t mess with a flock of future Mrs.

When Luba Anastasia Cawley, owner of Anastasia’s Bridal in north Wilmington, abruptly closed shop over the past month and left more than a dozen brides without their special dresses, the bride-to-be was emptied.

They contacted the media, the Better Business Bureau, and Attorney General Matt Denn’s office. After receiving a dozen complaints on Tuesday, the attorney general is investigating, according to Denn’s spokesperson.

The brides also took to Facebook for a cathartic blame festival called ‘Anastasia’s Burned Brides’ with 101 likes. Comment after comment declaimed about Cawley.

Some have called out Cawley for his delay tactics, like blaming customs, lost shipments and family emergencies for not delivering dresses in the weeks and months before the Concord Pike store closed.

Cawley, who lives in Wilmington, could not be reached for comment and likewise went MIA with her clients. Her two email addresses for Anastasia’s bride have been closed.

Anastasia's bride on Route 202 near Silverside Road has a sign saying she is closed for inventory and repairs, leaving several brides looking for the dresses they have purchased.

Court records show Cawley filed for personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2008 and the case was discharged. In 2009, she and her ex-husband were sued by Chase Home Finance for defaulting on a mortgage of nearly $ 417,000 plus interest on their property located at 29, boul. The property was then auctioned off.

On June 14, Cawley’s parents, Basil and Vera Gregorovich, filed for Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy. Under their Bee Vee Corp., Vera Gregorovich is listed as president of Anastasia Bridal, while her husband is listed as secretary and treasurer, according to the Better Business Bureau website. Vera Gregorovich is listed as Anastasia’s Bride Agent in the records of the Delaware Secretary of State. The Gregorovichs did not return a phone call and email on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Better Business Bureau website had an alert on Anastasia’s Bridal, saying: “On 6/14/2016, the company filed for reorganization under Chapter 13 of the Federal Bankruptcy Act, Case # 16-11481-BLS. This allows the business to continue to operate under court supervision while developing a reorganization plan. “

A meeting of the Gregorovitch creditors is scheduled for August 1 in room 2112 of the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington. Court records show the couple’s debt and administrative expenses totaling more than $ 53,000, including $ 4,000 in property taxes owed to New Castle County and $ 3,500 in unpaid attorney fees.

Blind wives aren’t completely unlucky, according to Marie Reilly, a law professor at Penn State University.

“The purpose of a Chapter 13 case is to stay in business, to use the income you plan to generate from continuing operations to pay off your creditors as far as you can and get the debts discharged. that you can’t pay, ”she said. .

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Reilly advised brides to file claims online at www.deb.uscourts.gov or by mail. The bankruptcy code provides for priority payment of up to $ 2,775 per person for customers who prepaid and did not get the dresses they were promised, she said. How much the brides ultimately get back depends on other creditors already online.

Brides like Ashley Mashington don’t hold their breath.

“Now I have to pay for my dress one more time,” said an angry Mashington from Pike Creek, who founded the Burnt Wives Facebook page.

The story of the 33-year-old first bride is what would happen if “Say yes to the dress” became “Say yes to the mega stress of marriage”.

With her mom and bridesmaid in tow, Mashington picked up her dreamy Maggie Sottero lace gown on Black Friday last year. She took advantage of Cawley’s special sale, she said, which was a 15% reduction if Mashington paid in full in cash.

Mashington’s parents shelled out over $ 1,500 for the dress and belt and were told to expect everything to happen within seven months.

Cawley, who also goes by Luba Campbell, emailed Mashington on April 14 to inform her that her dress was due to arrive in the second week of June, according to correspondence Mashington provided to the News Journal.

On June 7, after seeing a TV report about Anastasia’s bride mess, Mashington’s colleague at Wilmington University nudged her: “Where did you get your dress?”

Fifteen seconds after watching the information video, Mashington was too discouraged to continue. She took out Anastasia’s website, which was disabled.

Still, the eternal optimist assumed it was a giant misunderstanding. She sent a courteous email inquiry to Cawley. Nothing.

Then she asked her mother to stop by the store. There was a sign on the front: “Closed for inventory and repairs”, with only a general email address listed.

Inside, two dozen baskets of breathtaking dresses waved under lock and key. Mashington sent increasingly frantic emails titled “Urgent.” My wedding dress. Please respond as soon as possible ”to Cawley.

Not a glance.

The following night, Cawley sent a three-sentence email to Mashington, according to a copy provided to the News Journal:

“I worked with all my salespeople for my brides. Maggie Sottero has all of your information. and will contact you to get your dress. I’m doing my best to protect my wives during this transition. “

A quick call to Maggie Sottero revealed that Cawley had never paid the designer for her dress, which is why it was not delivered, Mashington said.

“It looked like they locked themselves in and threw away the key without caring about the customers they left behind,” she says.

Missing an essential item for her October wedding, Mashington asked her parents to pay again for the same dress and have it shipped to another bridal boutique, Irini’s Originals on Philadelphia Pike.

Feeling floaty, she tried on her dress last week and focused on finishing her storybook.

Lakesha Costello, another Black Friday bride from Anastasia, had to borrow money from one of her bridesmaids to buy a Pronovias ruffled double dress.

Unlike Mashington, Costello only gave Cawley a 60% deposit for her dress, rhinestone belt, and veil totaling $ 1,600. Cawley urged her to pay in cash, suspending the 15% reduction, but Costello paid with her debit card, she said.

When the estimated arrival date in early May came and went, Costello blew up Anastasia’s phone lines. Finally, she said, the store gave her an appointment on June 10 to try on the dress.

Costello, who lives in Downingtown, Pa., Arrived nearly two hours earlier with her two young children to find the doors locked. At 5 p.m., an official from the Better Business Bureau stopped to look for Cawley. It was then that Costello burst into tears, as did his children.

Like Mashington, Costello learned that Cawley ordered the dress from Pronovias but never paid the bill.

Buying a house in Chester Springs, Pa., Costello didn’t have enough money to buy a new dress. So one of her bridesmaids, a dear friend, charged her to her credit card. Costello agreed to repay her in installments.

Because of this, she canceled her planned honeymoon in the Bahamas so that she could earn some extra tutoring money this summer. Costello is only taking three days off for his July wedding.

“At first, I was upset. Then I was in shock, ”recalls the 33-year-old reading teacher. “Right now I’m sorry for (Cawley) as a business owner. She ruined her reputation.

Costello bought her replacement dress from Jennifer Bridal in Hockessin, which gave her a 20% discount.

Store owner Jennifer Kienzle said she has dealt with more than a dozen distraught Anastasia wives over the past month. Some pay twice for the same dress, while others start from scratch.

In business for 20 years, Kienzle said it was a “red flag” when a bridal shop asked for money up front.

“We don’t even have a change here,” she said. “People don’t deal in cash in this business.”

“I never saw the way it was managed locally,” she added.

From late last year, Kienzle said, she started hearing from brides struggling to get their dresses delivered by Anastasia. Soon after, Kienzle began receiving calls from wedding designers who worked with Anastasia but quit due to missed payments.

Kienzle knew Cawley – before Cawley opened her bridal boutique, she bought her wedding dress from Jennifer – but lost touch after Anastasia started undercutting Jennifer’s prices, first in Greenville, then on Concord Pike.

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“You can only do discounts for so long before you run out of cash,” Kienzle said.

A visit to Anastasia’s spacious showroom last week revealed no leads. The same “closed for inventory” sign hung on the front door. Jose Cuevas, director of securities lending from Delaware next door, said he had not seen Cawley for three weeks.

If there’s one puffy heart that ends at all of this, it’s because two current Mrs.

“He served his course. It’s time to pass it on to someone else who needs it, ”said Dawn Sheiker, also 33, who gifted her two-piece halter Oleg Cassini dress with a chapel train.

The North Wilmington bride, who married in 2013, said she knew Cawley through a mutual friend.

“I sympathize with everyone involved,” Sheiker said.

News Journal reporter Scott Goss contributed to this report. Contact Margie Fishman at (302) 324-2882, on Twitter @MargieTrende or [email protected]

Editor’s Note: Some material from an earlier version of this story has been removed.

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