A bridal house is Stella's new home in LeRoy

Jul 23, 2015

LE ROY — As the owner of a bridal boutique, Stella Collins knows how important it is to find the right match. After two previous locations downtown, Stella’s Bridal Boutique has a new home — in a house on the grounds of the former Brothers of Mercy convent on East Main Road. Collins said it’s a perfect fit. “My dream when I started, was to have a bridal house,” Collins said. “Finally, after four years of searching, I found one.” The house at 7770 East Main Rd. is owned by Le Roy businessman James Gomborone, who is converting the much larger adjacent building — at 7758 East Main St. — into a hotel and conference center. Collins said she “cold called” Gomborone this past winter, to ask about renting the eight bedroom house. He was a bit skeptical, Collins said, but she was well-armed with vision and persistence. “By the end of the conversation he said, ‘Can you meet me today?’” Collins recalled. “So we met and he was really intrigued.” Stella’s Bridal Boutique re-opened in the new location on July 7. A long driveway leads visitors to a charming, one-story house with pale yellow siding and white trim. The front door appears to be set in a wall of glass, as it is flanked by mirrored windows. Those windows flood the interior with light. What was once a dowdy living room is now a spacious showroom with white walls and a display of gowns. “It’s amazing what you can do with elbow grease and a little paint,” she said. Collins is a Le Roy native who studied fashion at LIM College in Manhattan. After college, she went to work with a corporate bridal business in Rochester, and eventually worked her way up the latter and into a job in Tonawanda. She wasn’t happy in a corporate environment, however, and Tonawanda is a long commute from Le Roy. So in 2011 she opened Stella’s Bridal Boutique at 73 Main St. Just six month later, Collins moved to a larger location across the street at 44 Main St. All along her phone kept ringing and business kept growing. “I’ve always been out of space,” she said. Why Le Roy? It’s a central location, Collins said, for a business that draws most of its customers from Rochester and Buffalo — and even people from out of state who may still have family in Western New York. Le Roy is also a community whose charm and sense of tradition appeals to out-of-town customers. “They’re looking for a traditional experience,” Collins said. “(Marriage) is a big step in your life, and this is like going back in time and preserving that memory and that moment.” Collins has always focused on providing a personal experience for brides-to-be, one that begins with choosing a dress and continues through all the fittings and alterations. “The shop was closed down as each bride came in to try on her dress, so she felt like it was all for her,” Collins said. “Love putting a bride on that pedestal and making her feel like she owns the room, that this is her moment.” In her new location Collins has converted three of the eight bedrooms into “bridal suites,” customized and private fitting rooms where the focus is on the individual customer. She hopes to eventually sublet other rooms to related businesses, like hair stylists or makeup artists. A large kitchen on the first floor might work for a florist. “I wanted a whole house where I could have one-stop shopping,” Collins said. “You can get your dress here, you can get your spray tan; if you want a makeup consultation before you try your dress on, we’ve got that here for you, too. “I’m so excited to create something different and outside the box,” she said. “It’s not a store, it’s really a destination.” She jokes that she’s managed to cut her own commute in half, from four minutes to two. “When everything falls into the right place naturally, you know it’s the right fit,” she said. And call it a sign, she says, that her new address — 7770 East Main— is just a digit away from her business phone number, (585) 768-7771. “What are the odds of that?” For more information visit www.stellasbridalboutique.com or look for Stella’s Bridal Boutique on Facebook.