Naperville boutique giving free 26 gowns to front-line, essential workers
After a challenging year for small businesses, particularly in the wedding industry, Sue Cerulli feels thankful to be celebrating the 13th anniversary of her downtown Naperville bridal shop next month.
But she's even more grateful for the health care workers, police officers, paramedics, grocery cashiers and all others who have risked their lives to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To show her appreciation, Bri'Zan Couture at 827 N. Washington St. is giving free bridal gowns to 26 affianced front-line and essential workers -- one for every day the shop is open in March.
Appointments will be booked on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible brides who show proof of employment, Cerulli said.
"Through COVID and all that we've been through, they're the ones that have really put themselves on the line for us while we were all home safe with our families," she said. "They gave to us a tremendous amount. With the times we're in, we really felt we wanted to give back."
Cerulli watched friends and loved ones work tirelessly through the stay-at-home order last year, putting themselves and their families in jeopardy as coronavirus cases climbed and uncertainty ensued. Her brother-in-law owns a grocery chain. Her employees' children are doctors and nurses. Her daughter is in a medical program in college, requiring her to be in and out of hospitals through the pandemic.
Now that her boutique is back in operation, Cerulli said, she wanted to return the favor.
"We've given back in so many different ways throughout the years, but this year felt like more needed to be done," she said.
The giveaway begins Tuesday and continues every day besides Mondays, when the shop is closed. The appointments will be split into two categories, Cerulli said, with 13 front-line workers and 13 essential employees receiving free gowns by the end of the month.
Front-line workers include hospital and long-term facility employees, nursing assistants, home health aides, protective service workers and others tasked with caring for the community during the public health crisis, according to the Bri'Zan Couture website. Grocery store cashiers, production and food processing workers, janitors, maintenance employees, agricultural workers, truck drivers and others in positions deemed essential fall into the latter category.
A recent pay stub, a current ID badge or a document that shows proof of employment is required to book a session. Those unsure whether they qualify are encouraged to call the shop.
During their appointment, the brides will be able to choose from a selection of off-the-rack gowns, Cerulli said. Special-order dresses, alterations and accessories are not included in the giveaway.
Bri'Zan Couture also is organizing other festivities next month as part of its 13th anniversary celebration, including a private Disney-themed event March 27 where brides can shop a new line of Allure Bridal's Disney Fairy Tale Weddings Collection gowns. Twelve women will be selected from a lottery system to participate.
Any bride who purchases a gown in March also can spin a wheel for a free prize, such as jewelry or a handbag.
For information, visit www.brizancouture.com or call (630) 428-1414.