Saline resident Diana Holding was hit with a case of empty nest syndrome when her middle child went off to college last year.
“Even though I still have a son in high school, I kind of felt like ‘What do I do with myself?'” explained Holding, who previously worked as a realtor as well as in the airline industry making pilot and flight attendant schedules.
“I had my pity-party and then I thought I have to do something with myself.”
Holding began searching on the internet to learn how to open a business and reading various blogs, and realized dress stores — especially those specializing in wedding dresses — interested her. She picked up the phone and started calling bridal stores around the country and asking questions.
The bridal shop owners were all very nice, said Holding. “It got to the point where I made friends with them and even went out to Minnesota twice and trained with them,” she said.
Fast forward to today and Holding’s store, White Arbor Bridal & Formals, opened Tuesday, located at the corner of State Street and Michigan Avenue in Saline in the strip mall in front of Walmart. Holding’s store occupies two combined spaces.
Holding originally looked at space in Briarwood Mall before deciding that location wasn’t a good fit for her.
While conducting her search for the perfect location, Holding put her local competitors on a map to geographically pin down an area that was lacking a bridal salon. She was sold on the current location due to the shopping draw of the area surrounding Walmart as well as easy access to the freeway and downtown Ann Arbor.
Holding is targeting brides who are on a budget for their wedding, with moderately-priced off-the-rack gowns ranging in cost from $350 to $800. Holding also is working with four designers to provide dresses to order that will range in price from $550 to $1700. The store’s selection of bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and bridal accessories include Allure, Kathy Ireland 2Be collection for Mon Cheri, Venus, Ella by Essence of Australia, Jasmine and Jordan. Preservation services for cleaning and preserving gowns after the wedding also are available.
In addition, the store will carry a small selection of homecoming and prom dresses. “Hopefully one day those homecoming kids will be my brides,” said Holding.
The store will be holding a Grand Opening Event and Fashion Show from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27 from Local bridal vendors will be on hand for brides-to-be to taste cakes, and tuxedos. The event will include raffle drawings and giveaways.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m Sunday. White Arbor Bridal & Formals can be found on the web or on Facebook at WhiteArborBridal.