Queens brides jilted by shop’s sudden closing

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Brides-to-be flocked to an Astoria wedding shop to reclaim their chiffon and silk dreams this week after word spread that bankruptcy had shuttered the decades-old boutique.

By Monday afternoon, 125 angry women had been handed dresses from the racks at Saymel’s Bridal Salon, which temporarily opened its doors for customers to retrieve their merchandise.

But the 60-year-old bridal shop was otherwise closed for good after the corporation filed for bankruptcy Friday.

Bob Moneypenny, the chief executive officer of G.E.M. Auction Co., tried to dry the tears of rattled brides-to-be by offering them garments from the store’s stock when they arrived at the Steinway Street storefront.

Sometimes the dresses they had ordered and paid for were sitting neatly on a rack. But many others were nowhere to be found, so Moneypenny gave jilted brides their choice among the remaining merchandise.

Moneypenny was appointed managing agent and auctioneer by John Pereira, whom the court named as the trustee in the bankruptcy.

“We’re trying to do our best to make sure we can satisfy them,” Moneypenny said. “I’ve heard cuss words that I didn’t hear until I was about 50 years old. It really distressed people.”

The extent of the emergency depended on the date of the wedding.

“Some of them had a wedding last week,” Moneypenny said. “Luckily, we found their stuff.”

Others were not so lucky.

“Some people, sorry to say, will lose out on the money because there’s nothing in stock they want or their wedding is too close,” Moneypenny said.

For Glendale resident Rosanna Stabile, the solution came from a bit of improvisation.

“They didn’t have (the dress), but I was able to take the sample that was there,” she said. “I wouldn’t have taken it if it wasn’t in good condition.”

Many other women did the same, leaving the store in a frenzied mess with some dresses and headpieces strewn on the floor after the brides-to-be had combed through garments trying to find their own.

Stabile brought her dress to a local cleaner and tailor who had already amassed a half-dozen garments other women had retrieved from the failed bridal boutique.

Her sister, who is getting married in December, did not find her gown but is ordering the same one from another outlet.

But both women had put their deposits on a credit card and were hopeful they would not ultimately be responsible for the charges.

Some dress manufacturers did not even begin making the garments because they had not been paid by Saymel’s in so long, Stabile said.

Like many other women, Stabile said she is “very angry” about the closure.

“I recommended this place to a few people,” she said. “At first I didn’t know what was going on. I was very upset.”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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