HOLDEN, Mass. — For those driving past Elizabeth Ann's Bridal Boutique in the center of Holden, seeing the dresses in the windows can be a beautiful experience. And that's exactly what the mother and daughter owners hope to offer everyone who enters.
Holden Days marked the first anniversary of the boutique's bringing a sense of beauty not only to brides and prom-goers but to the center of town as well.
"The biggest talk around town that we hear is that people love our windows," said Jaclyn McGreevy, who runs the shop with her mother, Kelly Michalczyk. They frequently change the window displays to tell different stories through dresses and decorations.
In fact, the elaborate windows have become so popular that McGreevy has noticed people taking photos of them and posting them on Facebook or Pinterest.
"It's so nice that people have said that it's the highlight of their day," said Michalczyk, who recalled how a father thanked them, explaining that every morning when he drives his daughter to school talking about the windows has become the best time they have together.
"To me, to make that much of an impact is huge," she said.
The retail space hasn't always been so chic, however, having sat vacant for four years until the duo had the vision to transform it.
"Besides the electric work, we did everything on our own," said McGreevy. "We painted, we took turns coming in at night. My father-in-law built the dressing rooms — so it was more rewarding."
The inspiration for the shop came from McGreevy's quest for a dress when she got married.
"We were at a commercialized bridal shop, and it wasn't really a great experience," said Michalczyk, "and [Jaclyn] said, 'There's got to be a better way.' "
Together, the family set out to bring a bridal boutique to Worcester County that offered a more personalized experience.
"When people come here, it's like they're coming into our home," said Michalczyk. "We want them to have the best experience, and that they find something they love that fits."
To make this possible, they try not only to have something beautiful for every size and budget, but also have two local seamstresses who McGreevy says "can do anything."
The boutique plans its first community fashion show Feb. 2. "Life's a Prom" at Worcester State University will raise money for six area school proms — including those at Wachusett Regional High School and Leicester High School — where McGreevy and Michalczyk went, respectively.