Paradise Bridal moving to Bellport
Retail space leaving is another sign of a changing Main Street
Paradise Bridal, a full-service bridal and formalwear shop that has been in Patchogue for 52 years, will move its showroom to Bellport later this year.
Owner Peter Leporati said that he was offered a new lease — tripling the cost to rent the same space. He added that on top of the steep increase, the building they occupy at 44 West Main Street is “falling apart.” The ceilings are stained with water leaks, the floors are cracking underneath the carpet, and mold is growing in certain areas. Sewage backs up that the storeowner has to repair a couple of times a year. Windows have been broken several times in the past couple of years, including an incident where a person was thrown through the storefront window. Leporati said his requests to have the maintenance concerns looked at were never honored by the building’s owners.
It was not clear who the owners are, and they could not be reached for comment. Dennis Smith, Patchogue’s executive director for the Business Improvement District, said grants sometimes become available through the state’s Office of Community Renewal, which provides money to improve main street businesses. He said money was available for the section of Main Street which includes Paradise Bridal about eight years ago, but the building’s owners never reached out to be part of the program.
Leporati added that parking has been an increasing issue for the business. Employees said the back parking lot is often full by the time the business opens at 11 a.m., and street availability is rare. Customers have also had issues, they said, which can prevent possible business.
“We have no choice,” Leporati said of his decision to move.
Paradise Bridal will take over the old Dress Barn store in the Bellport Outlets. Leporati said the space is nicer, more modern, and up to code. They will continue to provide all the same services and even expand a bit on their eveningwear. The new shop will be essentially run by, Tiffany Fried and Patricia Scheiner. But Leporati made one thing clear: he has no plans to retire.
“This is my baby,” he said.
Leporati, 75, first opened Paradise Bridal 52 years ago on the eastern end of Main Street, in the building now occupied by Minuteman Press. That space was 400 square feet, compared to the almost 9,000 square feet in the current location, which they have occupied for 19 years. Leporati said he has loved being in Patchogue, moving here with his wife before opening the shop and leaving behind his career in banking. The shop averages 500 to 600 brides per year coming from the city, the East End, and the tri-state area. They also have tuxedos and eveningwear.
Paradise Bridal will make the move officially in October, moving in pieces to keep downtime to a minimum. There will be two days that the store will be closed, before reopening in the outlets. Leporati will hire movers to take equipment and furniture, but his team — who he trusts — will hand-deliver the dresses themselves.
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