WINCHESTER — Kim Carruthers is a well-known name in the North Dundas-area, a professional who makes wedding and prom dreams come true at her shop, Bridals by Al-Mor.
When Carruthers first took over the North Dundas business from Joyce Sharkey over 13 years ago, she was, she says, a “one-man band” in the village.
“There was not much around here for business, especially in the retail field,” she recalls.
Carruthers thanks her “very supportive community” for the store’s success, saying they are the real reason the store is still running strong.
She draws brides from around the region to her establishment, which relocated to its current Winchester address (from Chesterville) in 2009.
“We bring in lots of people from all over. We also send a lot of people to a lot of other businesses when they’re here,” the mother of six points out. “We encourage them to experience Winchester.”
Many people are mesmerized by their ever-changing and eye-catching window displays at Bridals by Al-Mor. “Having the wedding dresses in the windows brings a touch of ‘glitz and glamour’ to our little town,” the owner boasts.
Before Carruthers dove into the bridal sector, the previous owner carried mostly ladies’ wear but only a small section of bridal and mother-of-the-bride gowns.
“For me it was a ‘go big or go home’ kind of situation. I just kept setting goals and expanding. The more people we could draw here the better,” she explains.
Speaking of expanding: Bridals by Al-Mor has just recently completed a major transformation of their upstairs showroom.
Wedding parties nowadays are getting bigger and bigger, which means more people and less and less room to accommodate everyone. That’s no longer an issue at Bridals; the upper level now offers an exclusive space to brides and their wedding parties for fittings.
There is a modern and comfortable lounge area, more change rooms and a walk-through change room for the bride.
The store also scored an industry coup by being officially announced as one of the top recommended bridal shops in the Ottawa region.
Part of the reasoning behind the kudo may be the huge range of stocked sizes, from extra small to plus-sized. In fact, they’ve sold so many dresses from Essense of Australia that the designer now considers them a specialist in the field.
Carruthers’ 19-year-old daughter, Lexy, estimates that they carry 300 to 500 dresses of all types, at any given time.
Already employed at the family business, the younger Carruthers represents the future of Bridals by Al-Mor: Her mother intends to see her offspring eventually take over so she can retire one day.
Their operation has everything a bride or prom-pursuing teenage girl could want — from veils, belts, and headpieces, to dresses for bridesmaids, the mother of the bride, and flower girls.
Naturally, the one-stop-shop for all wedding apparel needs also includes a large selection tuxedo rentals with all the trimmings.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the township’s 2019 Explore North Dundas Spring/Summer Resource Guide. The involved interviews took place in the first quarter of 2019.