Wendy Gladbach – Ana Marie’s Bridal Owner
Wendy Gladbach always dreamed of opening her own bridal shop and even though it took many years for it to come to fruition, she couldn’t have picked a better time to open Ana Marie’s Bridal, Inc., the only bridal shop here now that Victoria’s Bridal shut down in the fall of 2013. For the past few months, she’s been overseeing the renovation of the old Dallmeyer building at 223 E. High Street and organizing her inventory for her opening this month.
BORN OUTSIDE OF SACRAMENTO, California, her dad was in the Air Force and she moved around from Massachusetts to Nebraska. Her parents divorced and she moved to this area when her mother retired at the Lake of the Ozarks.
SHE ATTENDED LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, which proved fortuitous. She met her husband, Denis, a graduate of Helias High School, there in 1988. Married for 25 years, they have four children – two daughters and two sons. He works at ABB and part-time with the National Guard, where he has reached the rank of sergeant major.
HER FASHION MERCHANDISING DEGREE, received in May of 1989, turned out to be a solid foundation to build upon. “It was really a specialized business degree with marketing and consumer economic and trend classes, with one-third of my course work in home economics, fashion, tailoring and sewing.” While going to college she also worked at JC Penny at the Capitol Mall and would go on to have a long history with the retailer.
WHILE LIVING IN ROLLA, she was accepted into the management training program at JC Penny and ultimately became a merchandise manager. Her husband, a mechanical engineer, graduated from at University of Missouri – Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology). They relocated to St. Paul, Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she continued working for JC Penny stores.
EMPLOYED AT A BRIDAL shop in Tipton, Iowa, she got a taste of what was to come. A bridesmaid for her sister’s wedding, she visited the store to buy some shoes and met the owner. By then she and her husband had three children. “I had been a stay-at-home mom for a while but when my youngest child was in kindergarten, I took a part-time job at the one-woman bridal shop and I learned a lot.”
MOVING TO JEFFERSON CITY in the fall of 1999, she worked part-time at Missouri State Parks and then served as a volunteer coordinator for the family program at the Missouri National Guard. A substitute teacher at St. Joseph Cathedral, she also ran the kitchen there for four years. Then she took a full-time job with the state as a federal grant administrator, but left in February. “My own shop had always been in the back of my mind, but finally the time seemed right.”
HER STORE IS NAMED after her two daughters’ middle names. “My daughters and I were kidding around and talking about opening my shop and they said, ‘do it.’ I knew I wanted to be downtown and Sam Bushman, owner of Samuel’s Tuxedo & Gifts, gave me Steve Dallmeyer’s number.” Two months later, she had her business plan and started calling suppliers.
DAVID TUTERA, SOPHIA TOLLI, Stella York, Mary’s Bridal and Jasmine Bridal are the designer gowns she’ll carry. “I wanted lines that weren’t available in Jefferson City.” Her shop will feature a variety of contemporary and vintage gowns from size 6 to 20 and priced between $500 to $2,000. “When I open the doors I plan to have 45 to 50 dresses in stock.” The fall lines ship in June so by September her goal is to have 100 sample dresses in the store.
BRIDESMAID DRESSES AND BRIDAL SHOES are part of her inventory, including the Touch Ups collection from Benjamin Walker. She also carries accessories, headpieces and veils from Bel Aire Bridal and Mon Cherie Bridal.
SHE KEPT HER TOASTING FLUTES from her wedding and plans to carry the traditional wedding item along with ring bearer pillows, flower girl baskets and foundation garments. Mother-of-the-bride and special occasion dresses will also be carried in the future. “I want to be a one-stop shop for brides so they can get almost everything they need for their wedding day.”
For more information, check out www.anamarie’sbridal.com, or call 573-636-1060.
(Article photography by Anthony Roderman)