My mom bought her wedding dress in 1989 at Rush’s Bridal in downtown Minneapolis, just like so many other brides-to-be since the shop first opened after World War II. To create a tradition, my mom always told me that our first stop after I got engaged would be the iconic store on Nicollet Mall. So when I heard that they were closing, I immediately tried to figure out how to get engaged before September. Then, in an attempt to be a little more rational, I wondered if it would be a bad idea to buy a dress now and hope that the styles don’t change too much (or hope that I’ll even get married).
Current owner, Tom Rush, cites two big shifts as the cause of the decision to close after 68 years, both boiling down to major changes in the bridal business. “No bridal shops have really done well since the Internet, the walk-in business has not been good,” says Rush. After jumping into online sales 20 years ago, they found that they just couldn’t keep up with how competitive the online market became. Beyond this, a cultural shift has marked the end of an era. “More couples are cohabitating and having children and not getting married,” adds Rush. “Or the brides that do get married, what they spend on their gowns isn’t the number-one cost anymore. Now they’re more interested in spending money on the reception or destination weddings. It all added up to a perfect storm. We went through our busy season, it didn’t get much better, and we decided, you know, let’s just close."
So if, unlike me, you are lucky enough to be shopping for a dress right now, go soon. While Rush's has stopped taking special orders, they’re selling all of their off-the-rack gowns at 50 percent off until they’re sold out—and they’re closing the doors for good right around September 1. 927 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-343-9333, rushs.com