MADISON SQUARE

Anne Gonzales arranges a Fiore Couture wedding gown Monday at her Madison Square Boutique & Bridal at 303 East 14th St. Suite A.

Anne Gonzales started what’s now Madison Square Boutique & Bridal as a women’s boutique in eight square feet inside a florist’s shop in Leitchfield in 2012.

It was named after her daughter, Madison, who’s 12 now.

In February, she moved into a 3,500-square-foot store in Center Plaza, the strip center Vince Hayden built in 2015 on J.R. Miller Boulevard between East Parrish Avenue and 14th Street.

Her inventory today includes 500 wedding gowns.

Gonzales’ store first grew to 1,500 square feet in Leitchfield and eventually took over two buildings on the town square.

In April 2019, she created an Owensboro store in one room at Maria’s Cruse Salon, Boutique and Gifts, 1724 Cruse Drive — a mini-mall inside a 1,844-square-foot home.

And in February, she made the move to J.R. Miller Boulevard.

“There’s about twice as much traffic here as on Kentucky 54 and the rent is significantly cheaper,” Gonzales said.

But the move wasn’t easy.

Gonzales was in a wheelchair after breaking her ankle.

And then, the coronavirus hit Kentucky and she had to close down for a couple of months.

The Harrisville, New York, native lost the prom season to the pandemic when schools were closed along with most activities.

But she’s optimistic for next spring.

“We’ve ordered prom dresses for next spring already,” Gonzales said.

After a few slow months with weddings being postponed by the coronavirus, business is picking up, she said.

“People have been postponing weddings because of COVID,” Gonzales said. “But we’re starting to see an uptick in weddings. People just want to go ahead and get married. They’re tired of waiting.”

The store also has tuxes, mother of the bride dresses and bridesmaid dresses.

There’s a second store in Greenville, South Carolina, that Gonzales’ brother-in-law runs.

“We carry different dresses than other stores in town,” she said. “And we’re known for our customer service.”

The boutique in the front of the store offers some plus sizes, purses, denim, shoes and bell bottoms.

Plus sizes are important, Gonzales said, because the average girl today is a size 16.

Brides.com says the average woman is a size 14.

Hannah Willner, a recent Apollo High School graduate, is in training to take over management of the store.

“My daughter is 12,” Gonzales said. “Twelve-year-old girls need their moms at home more often.”

She said, “It’s been really, really, really tough for everyone with children in school this year. And I have a teaching degree. My daughter has done well. But I want to spend more time with her.”

The store’s website says, “We carry several designers with an extensive collection. Many of our designers are exclusive to us in Kentucky.”

Store hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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