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Emily Welker, Published September 30 2013

Customers jilted by The Bridal Shop sue for damages

FARGO – Two more civil suits have been filed against The Bridal Shop and its owner, this time in small claims court by customers seeking damages for gowns and veils they paid the store for but didn’t receive.

The new lawsuits follow an eviction claim against owner Gretchen Ingbretson and her store, which closed last month after 60 years in business.

The sudden closure left dozens of brides and bridal party members without dresses to wear at weddings sometimes weeks away, said angry customers.

In order to get the dresses they had ordered up to almost a year previously, customers reported having to repay for the same gown so the manufacturer would ship it from the warehouse.

That sequence of events is what Alexandra Nistler alleged in her case against Ingbretson recently filed in Cass County District Court.

“I called my mom in tears saying I don’t know if I have a wedding dress anymore,” Nistler said.

She said her parents paid $650 to Ingbretson for a wedding gown they ordered from The Bridal Shop.

Cindy Dokken, of LeeAnne’s Bridal, offered to let them pay for a little over half the dress to get it shipped, at a cost of $450 the second time around, with Dokken covering the rest of the cost, Nistler said.

She said they are suing Ingbretson for $1,500 to cover damages.

Another small-claims lawsuit against Ingebretson was filed Sept. 19 by James Kapphahn, of West Fargo. The suit asks for $1164.16, the cost of a bridal gown and veil paid for on Dec. 27. Kapphahn did not return a voicemail asking for comment.

Ingbretson filed a response denying allegations in an eviction lawsuit filed against her by the store’s landlord on Sept 13.

In the response, Ingbretson admits she had not paid rent on the property at 3223 13th Ave. S. since June.

She disputed the $48,800 dollar amount Agassiz Square alleged she owed in its lawsuit. Ingbretson’s response states she paid her landlords $7,000 during those months, and that they also hold a $10,500 security deposit.

Christopher Kennelly, Ingbretson’s attorney, said his client is in possession of the paperwork on both small-claims cases, and is working with The Bridal Shop and taking each case on a case-by-case basis.

He said Ingbretson is working with the shop’s landlords on follow-up financial details regarding the eviction case, and that a judge has decided to evict her from the 13th Avenue premises.

“Gretchen’s doing well, she’s moving on with her life,” Kennelly said. “She’s spending time with her family and less time dealing with issues related to the Bridal Shop, outside of these cases.”

Kennelly said Ingbretson had not decided whether to file for bankruptcy.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541