Raleigh bridal shop owners file for bankruptcy
Posted July 28, 2015
Updated July 31, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — 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
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.