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Downtown fixture Rainbow Bridal closes suddenly

Rainbow Bridal, a downtown fixture of almost 90 years, has been shuttered and locked in a landlord-tenant disagreement over $4,250 in disputed rent, according to the store's owner.

A bailiff's notice in the window of the King Street East store says the property has been seized for rent arrears by the landlord, Red Brick Rev Up Inc., of Hamilton.

Rainbow owner Barry Sobel rejects that claim and says the store will reopen soon, even if only for brides whose dresses have arrived.

"At some point in the next few days consumers who have dresses in the shop will be able to pick them up," he said, adding details are still being finalized.

"I'm not in control of this process."

Red Brick owner Joe Accardi declined to comment.

Sobel said the padlocking of the store took him by surprise.

"We were completely blindsided by this," he said. "I'm not at liberty to say a lot because it is in litigation. They say I owe $4,250 plus HST, but that's not the issue. I would have paid it gladly if it was deserved."

Photo: http://www.kissydressinau.com/purple-formal-dresses

Sobel added he intends to fight for the name of his family and business and has issued a notice of intent to sue his landlord.

"I'm not hiding from anyone," he said. "I'll be standing right here to face the music. I have delivered every button I have ever committed to."

Rainbow was started in 1927 by Sobel's grandfather. He took the business over from his uncle in 1978.

"I've operated this store for nearly 40 years and now they've taken my baby away," he said. "We have always operated with integrity here and now my heart is bleeding for my team and family."

At its peak, the store employed 12 full-time and up to 10 part-time staff.

In a notice posted on Rainbow's website, Sobel said the store's outstanding business problems will have to be settled by the courts, but while that process is worked out, "every effort will be made to ensure our loyal clientele receive the best possible service within the circumstances, are dealt with meaningfully and are equipped with information concerning their existing orders which may permit them to deal directly with manufacturers and other retailers."

Michelle Houston and Ida Carreiro are among Rainbow's customers now worried about the dresses for their daughters' weddings early next year.

Houston, whose daughter Emily is to be married in January, paid $1,200 for four bridesmaid dresses in October. They're now secured behind the large padlock and chain on the front door of the store.

"I called the landlord and they were a little bit helpful," Houston said. "They said we could have the dresses as soon as (Sobel) pays the rent.

"That doesn't help us because now we've only got two months to find something else," she said.

Carreiro fears for the $2,000 wedding dress her daughter Tiffany hoped to wear at her wedding Feb. 21. The gown, ordered in June, was held at the store waiting for a veil before being picked up.

"I heard from a friend who made a deposit on a dress that the store was closed and she'd lost her money," Carreiro said.

Red Brick Rentals is a Hamilton-based company headed by Accardi, nominated this year for a Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Also Read: http://www.kissydressinau.com/green-formal-dresses

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