Broomvale Bridal Barns, formerly Ipswich shops Brides of St Peters in St Peter's Street and Just a Day Bridalwear in Norwich Road, opens in Little Blakenham, off A14
‘It feels like home’ was the impression the owner of a group of bridal stores got as she moved her team from the busy streets of Ipswich to a relaxed village barn.
Met with a fully-booked opening day, Broomvale Bridal Barns opened at Broomvale Business Park in Little Blakenham on Saturday.
Formed by merging Brides of St Peters and Just a Day Bridalwear into a single business, the team swapped stores located on opposite ends of Ipswich town centre for grade-II listed barns with plenty of room for the owner’s plans.
Owner Sharon Higgs said the new premises was perfect and was exactly what the team had been looking for.
Sharon said: “After more than 30 years of trading, we felt it was time for a change. We came across these barns entirely by accident but fell in love with them immediately and knew there and then that this would be our new home.
“We loved our former locations, but we felt we had to go with what the buyer wanted. It’s not just about the dresses we stock, but the environment, and what customers require. Here is so much calmer, more relaxed.
“Parking was also difficult in both locations, but here at Broomvale, there is plenty of space, which makes the entire experience so much better. The buildings are just so stunning.
“Here, we can sit outside and eat lunch, have a quiet chat, and we don’t hit traffic on the way in and we’re located just off the A14. I also live in the countryside, so it feels like being at home.”
Before the move, Brides of St Peters was in St Peter’s Street, while Just a Day was in Norwich Road.
The move to Little Blakenham came after health issues within Sharon’s family, and she said putting all her businesses under one roof made them easier to manage.
The lot the team moved into was formerly occupied by Aaron Services.
It is multiple barns merged into one. The front section is occupied by the former bridalwear stores, with a VIP area upstairs.
The back room currently houses an area where customers can buy dresses ‘off the rail’ for a discount.
However, come September, it will be used for eveningwear and prom dresses for 10 months, before returning to use for wedding dresses for two months out of the year, once prom dress season ends.
This is because sister business, Prom Loft, also located on St Peter’s Street, will move into the barns.
In addition, another barn houses an area used for alterations.
Sharon first launched Just A Day Bridalwear in 1993, and eventually opened in Norwich Road in 1997, while Brides of St Peters opened in 2021.
The former closed its doors at the beginning of this month, while the latter closed in April.
Prom Loft will close at the end of this month, ready for its move to Broomvale.
The bridal barns stock a number of big name brands, including Justin Alexander, Sincerity, Pronovia, Mark Lesley, Savannah Miller and more.
However, they also have a range of cheaper dresses to try to cater to as many people as possible, as well as having a small selection of bridesmaid dresses.
Since their inception the businesses have been popular with people across Suffolk and East Anglia, Sharon noted.
Sharon said: “We have nearly 200 dresses in stock at the moment, and I’m always getting new stock in. I try to go to major displays at least three times a year, including in Barcelona and Harrogate, to pick up more designs. We make sure to stock dresses that you cannot buy online.”
Broomvale Bridal Barns operates on a appointment-only basis.
They also now offer twilight appointments after traditional opening hours on Tuesday and Thursday, for an extra fee, and a Sunday morning slot.
Sharon said: “We signed the lease for this new place at the beginning of the month, so the move was relatively smooth, although I’ve known about our move since January.
“Another boon was that we were able to keep all our staff on, and we’re looking to hire another part-time worker to complete the team.”
For the future, Sharon and the team want to better use their new outdoor space.
As they did in St Peter’s Street, they wanted an outdoor area where brides can see what their dress would look like in daylight.
Sharon added: “We also offer special appointments where we bring our store dog.
“We’re nowhere near done with the refurb of the barns. They need a lick of paint, and we’re getting carpets installed in the future eveningwear barn, but we wanted to get moved in and up-and-running as soon as we can.
“Our opening day was packed, which shows people were as eager as we were to open our new store, and we hope customers love the new location.”