Downtown Milwaukee retailer Zita Bridal Salon
will close at the end of April.
Owner Cynthia Apfelbach opened the dress boutique catering to brides and bridesmaids with Marina Kuhn in 2011, and has been the sole owner for the past four years since Kuhn exited the business.
Zita, located at 761 N. Jefferson St., will honor all its existing orders and commitments while selling off its inventory of about 150 wedding dresses and about 500 special occasion dresses, as well as veils and accessories, Apfelbach said.
The store is closed through Thursday, when it will reopen to begin its closing sale. Zita at one time had five employees and an independent contractor who completed alterations. Apfelbach has gradually reduced the headcount to one employee.
“To me, bridal has always been a customer service business and that’s something that will continue even as I go forward, because I do think I’ll continue working in the bridal industry, among other things, just not in a brick-and-mortar capacity,” Apfelbach said. “I want everyone to be assured that their dresses are here and they’ll be able to pick them up and get them delivered.”
The lease is up on Zita’s 4,500-square-foot storefront, which also has mezzanine and basement storage and office space, so now was a good time to close up shop, she said. The bridal industry has changed over time, with more brides shopping online and more vendors offering an entertainment experience to the brides, with the dress, florist and photographer all in one place.
“I love learning. I’ve loved opening a business. I’ve loved learning an industry. Now, closing a business, that’s a process in itself,” Apfelbach said. “When we first started, one of my business philosophies was ‘embrace change.’ And now my philosophy is, ‘Change is the only constant.’”
Zita is located in the Watts building downtown. The iconic George Watts & Son store and the Watts Tea Shop in the building closed at the end of 2016. Kesslers Diamonds opened a store in the building in 2015.