5 On Your Side

Raleigh bridal shop owners file for bankruptcy

Posted July 28, 2015
Updated July 31, 2015

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— A Raleigh bridal shop that left customers locked outside Friday has filed for bankruptcy protection.

In a 58-page document, owners of La Belle Mariee, at Glenwood Avenue and Millbrook Road, detail the $157,000 owed to brides, designers, vendors and in taxes. The filing lists Beverly Cray as the company president and her daughter, Kathy Purser, as vice president.

On Friday, store manager Tiffany Ragston said Purser had changed the door locks, changed her phone number and took all the records from the store.

Neither Purser nor Cray answered their doors when 5 On Your Side sought them out, and both women's homes are listed for sale.

More than a dozen customers said they paid in full for gowns or tuxedos from La Belle Mariee and got nothing in return. Ragston said as many as 500 customers could be left in limbo.

It's not the first business venture for Purser. In 2013, she ran Victorian Rose Bridals in Raleigh's Cameron Village, where she accrued complaints about incorrect orders, sizes and colors and dresses not delivered.

According to the bankruptcy filing, La Belle Mariee owes employees more than $9,000 in salaries.

The Attorney General's Office on Tuesday said it would monitor the bankruptcy proceedings and examine any complaints against the store.

Customers are advised to cease any payments to the store unless they are dealing directly with a designer.

Customers of La Belle Mariee have few options. By filing for bankruptcy, the owners eliminate the option for customers to sue in small claims court.

Customers should file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office and contact the trustee handling the case, Joseph M. Lischwe, at:
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Glenlake One, 2nd Floor
4140 Parklake Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27612
OR
919-877-3800
OR
joe.lischwe@nelsonmullins.com

Creditors, and that includes brides-to-be, have an opportunity to face off with Purser and Cray on Sept. 3 at 9:30 a.m. They are scheduled for a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Raleigh, and by law, an owner must attend.

Ragston said she was able to remove 70 dresses from the store and was working to get them to the right brides.

Brides should not pay any more for dresses from thre store unless they are working directly with the designer.

5 Comments

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  • Paul Jones Jul 30, 2015
    user avatar

    I've said it before, but don't mind repeating if it helps. The business was losing money. They filled for bankruptcy. Money owed will be paid if there is any left after the bankruptcy proceeding. There is nothing evil in the process. Many businesses fail.

  • Micaela Glass Jul 29, 2015
    user avatar

    I use to work for thus horrible woman when Victorian Rose Bridals was at its original location on Glennwood. She treated her employees like dirt, our seamstress was overworked and underpaid. And the things she did to the brides without them know, was so disgraceful. I couldn't believe someone was so greedy and evil and conniving, and to hear it went on for years later...well lets just say karma is real and she is getting what she deserves! I only worked there for 4 months because I couldn't work for such a dishonest person. I hope she goes down and I hope the brides get what they're deserved!!!! BYE FELICIA!

  • George Herbert Jul 29, 2015
    user avatar

    I'm glad the manager is able to help some of the brides. She'd be a great employee for another store to hire.

  • Chip Dipson Jul 28, 2015
    user avatar

    Got anything in a size 6?

  • Cynthia Fig Jul 28, 2015
    user avatar

    I think its a shame she was able to pull the same stunt twice in the same town. as I was reading this mornings article ,all I could think was "This sounds familiar".