In the face of eviction, will Mission favorite Latin Bridal continue to grant quinceañera dreams?
STREET SEEN "My customers are Latin," says the owner of Latin Bridal Silvia Ferrusquia, entertaining a crowd of mamas, grandmas, and our photographer while we wait for the models for our photoshoot to get their hair and makeup done, and don the massive, fairytale quinceañera dresses and tiaras they bought from her shop for their big days.
"They may not have a lot of money, but they have good taste. There's nobody that serves this community the way we do."
Sadly, the community may have to look for other options. After a decade in the Mission Street storefront, Ferrusquia — whose crowded, colorful shop is one of the last of its kind in the neighborhood — has been served an eviction notice.
In the spring of 2012, in the middle of the shop's busy season, a damaged sewage pipe caused 11 ceiling tiles to fall, ruining close to a hundred of Ferrusquia's ornate bridal, communion, and quince dresses with foul liquid. She says a representative from Prado Group, her landlord, told her to hold her rent payments until damage could be assessed and reparations made.
"What are we going to do without you?" customer Veronica Ortiz wonders, when she hears of the shop's predicament. Ortiz was picking up her daughter's communion dress, with its skirt of carefully-curled tulle roses. Like her sisters and sisters-in-law, Ortiz also bought her wedding dress from Latin Bridal. An extravagant gown inspired by Princess Diana's famous nuptials, it had 6,000 crystals sewn to it, and a 20-meter train that Ortiz says was mistaken by guests at her hometown wedding in Durango, Mexico for the church aisle's carpet as she said her vows.
Things went further south for the shop when the Prado representative with which they were communicating was fired. Ferrusquia was told by the company that she had to pay up the three months' back rent in short order. After the losses sustained while her shop was smattered with sewage, mildew, and subsequent discovery of asbestos during its busy months, she was forced to file for bankruptcy.
After multiple warnings to pay the back rent (which has ballooned to a figure over $25,000 — a number representing six months' rent that Ferrusquia does not understand and went unexplained by the Prado Group, who declined to comment when contacted for this feature), she was served with a final eviction notice this month. She tells me the building's other tenants are being pushed out, that the Prado Group would only renew the shoe store next door's commercial lease for a year and a half, and that she worries for the residential tenants upstairs.