GREENWICH - A popular wedding shop in Greenwich abruptly shut down this week, leaving some customers scrambling for new bridal party dresses after they already paid up front.
Customers say they received no warning from Fontana Bridal on Putnam Avenue that it was planning to close.
In the window is a sign telling customers the shop is closed due to the owner's ongoing illness.
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The closure left brides-to-be scrambling to find new dresses -- and having to pay for them all over again.
Angela DeMarco's wedding is less than a month away, but Fontana's closed before finishing her bridesmaids' dresses.
Each bridesmaid paid $250 up front, but the tailor who produces dresses for the boutique says Fontana's never paid him.
DeMarco's bridal party is among more than a dozen in the same situation.
The shop was founded in 1942 by Anita Fontana, the owner's lawyer said in a statement. It has most recently been operated by her grandson and his wife, Cory and Nancy Fontana.
Nancy Fontana fell into a coma in March, and doctors diagnosed her with a rare autoimmune disease, according to the statement. She has since woken up, but has lost the function of her kidneys and liver and "suffers from extreme neurological issues."
The dress shop was primarily run by Nancy, according to the statement, and due to her poor health, Cory says he can no longer maintain the business.
The statement also says that customers who paid by credit card should call their credit providers and receive a full refund.
Cory Fontana also says that he will be working with other customers to pair them directly with dress manufacturers, beginning with bridal parties that have the earliest wedding dates.
But the brides-to-be want to know why they weren't given warnings, refunds, or told to go to somewhere else from the beginning.
Fontana's has run into trouble before. The Better Business Bureau gave the boutique an "F" rating for failing to respond to at least six complaints filed against the shop.
Customers can file complaints with the Connecticut Consumer Protection Office, but a spokesman there says the brides-to-be will likely have to take the shopkeeper to court.