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Upscale Bridal Shop To Fill Vacant Priscilla's Space

Elizabeth Johns will open its Suburban Square location in September.

A new upscale bridal boutique and evening wear salon will be moving in soon to , in the area last fall. Elizabeth Johns be a high-end shop focused on the whole bridal experience, said Jill Leach, who will be the salon director when the store opens in September.

Elizabeth Johns will offer bridal and special occasion apparel and accessories "along with the very highest level of attentive, personalized service," its website reads

Owner Melinda Ladyzinski opened the first Elizabeth Johns in Morristown, NJ, shortly after Memorial Day 2012. Ladyzinski, whose background is in realty, was inspired to start her own bridal boutique after a less than optimal experience wedding dress shopping for her daughter in winter 2011.

"Even in higher end salons, sample gowns were not always clean, there were broken zippers, ... Salespeople were pushy. No refreshments were offered.  And no consideration had gone into caring for anyone who might have accompanied the bride-to-be," the Elizabeth Johns website reads.

Ladyzinski sought to create a better bridal shopping experience, and so plans began to open her first store. After visiting the Suburban Square location, Ladyzinski decided to go after the lease and open another bridal shop in Ardmore, Leach said. The Ardmore location will be the second Elizabeth Johns store.

Leach, who was also the salon manager for Priscilla of Boston before parent company David's Bridal closed all 19 stores in late 2011, said that the Suburban Square locale is a profitable place for a bridal salon.

"Priscilla did really well there," Leach said. "We eventually became the number one store in the company: the business really grew when we moved from Wynnewood to Ardmore."

Several former Priscilla employees, including wedding consultants, customer service representatives and two seamstresses will also be making the move to Elizabeth Johns.

The Elizabeth Johns customer "wants a consultant who’s going to help her in selection process, help narrow down her dress, suggest and pull things for her she wouldn’t have thought of trying on," Leach said. 

The shop will sell dresses in silhouettes ranging from ballgowns to fit and flare dresses, with designers including Carolina Herrera and Marchesa. The upcoming collections also include a lot of lace, which Leach said seems to have exploded since Kate Middleton's wedding.

A focus at the new boutique, Leach said, will be ensuring that the bride not only finds the perfect dress, but enjoys spending time with her family while she's searching.

With bridal shopping as stressful as it is, Elizabeth Johns is working to make the experience of everyone—from the bride, to mom, to the bridal party—a little easier, and a bit more personal.

"It can be intimidating when you go into bridal salons," Leach said. "It's scary, and we always work to make [customers] feel comfortable and welcome. ...

We're in the fitting room with the bride, we're talking about her fiance, she's telling us how they got engaged—I still get goosebumps on my arms when she finds her dress."

Elizabeth Johns is now hiring wedding consultants, additional customer service representatives, and seamstresses. Leach can be contacted at jleach47@msn.com for more information.

Brian A. July 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Seems strange to have another Bridal store just steps from Bijou Bridal on Montgomery... is there any sort of major distinction between the new store and Bijou? Otherwise, it is nice to see another vacant storefront being filled. The courtyard will look great once this store and the new restaurant open!
Amanda Mahnke July 25, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Brian, I did ask about that—Leach said basically that she was happy to be near them, as women are more likely to be drawn to Suburban Square for dress shopping with two stores there. She reiterated how a big focus at Elizabeth Johns is the experience of dress shopping. When Priscilla was in that same spot, they became the number one store in the company despite having Bijou right next door. Granted, the whole chain was closed for underperforming.

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