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A Brief History of David's Bridal

David's Bridal is currently based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania but was originally started in the 1950's by David Reisberg with one single store on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. In the early seventies Reisberg sold his store to a young entreprenuer named Phil Youtie, who decided to keep the established name. Youtie, the son of an amusement park operator from Philadelphia, went on to buy up existing bridal stores all over Florida, in Boca Raton and in Coral Gables, and turned them into David's stores as well.

Like all bridal stores at the time, David's Bridal stocked only sample gowns in a standard size. Youtie, however, began to consider that different models might be applied. By the 1980s outlet mall at which discontinued merchandise was sold at discounted prices had emerged in the field of ready-to-wear; and in 1991, inspired by this example, Youtie and a childhood friend named Steve Erlbaum opened a bare-bones bridal warehouse operation on I-95 in Hallandale, Florida. David's Bridal Wearhouse, as it was then known, had no carpets, no dressing rooms, and sold manufactures' overstocks of dresses that were half the price they would have been in salons.

In an interview for the book One Perfect Day, The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead, Phil Youtie stated, "The first year, we made an enourmous profit, because we had an unheard of markup. We did no alterations, and if anyone needed a bobby pin, we would charge them for it." When manufacturers realized that David's was undercutting their business they became less willing to offload their unsold dresses, so Youtie took his trade overseas and began working directly with manufacturers of gowns in Taiwan to make David's brand-name dresses. Over the subsequent years more branches of David's opened, gradually becoming less like warehouses and more like conventional stores, with dressing rooms and carpets. In 1999, Youtie and Erlbaum took the company public for more than $100 million. (See our contribution to the Wikipedia)

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