Dozens of brides in the Ottawa area are wondering whether they will have a dress for their wedding after a landmark bridal shop declared bankruptcy. McCaffrey Haute Couture closed shop yesterday.  The high-end bridal store is located on Sussex Drive, right across from the American Embassy.  Instead of wedding gowns, the store window now showcases a letter from the bankruptcy trustee.

Bride-to-be Indira Thackorie is getting married in a few months and had eyed a beautiful wedding gown in the window at McCaffrey Haute Couture.  Today, the gown was gone and so was everything else.

‘I came to check it out between meetings,’ says Thackorie, outside the store, ‘and it's gone. The window's empty.  Very disappointing

Trinity Noble's wedding is in 24 days.  She is terrified now she won't get her dress in time. 

'It’s a big deal,’ says Noble. ‘Your wedding day is a big deal so something like this is shocking and you're scared and wondering “Am I going to have a dress?’

McCaffrey Haute Couture has been at the location on Sussex for a long time. For 18 years, it has designed dresses for brides in Ottawa, Toronto and around the world.  According to Chantal Gingras, who is the bankruptcy trustee with Ginsberg, Gingras and Associates, seventy gowns were on order when the shop closed yesterday. Fifty are completed.  The bankruptcy trustee is in the process of calling the owners of those gowns to outline how they can pick them up. The other 20 brides, according to Gingras, are likely out of luck.

‘They won't have the dress they originally ordered but they still have time to get a dress off the rack or get a dress made somewhere else,’ says Gingras. ‘If they can't get their money back from the credit card company, they will have lost their money, yes.’

This isn't the first time McCaffrey has declared bankruptcy.  In 2007, the store, then known as Justina McCaffrey closed its Gatineau factory.  About a year later, Justina and David McCaffrey went separate ways.

This time, according to the trustee, McCaffrey owes creditors about $400,000.  The company is blaming the loss on construction along Sussex last year and scaffolding over the building.

The manager of an adjacent store says those factors have affected them as well.

‘The scaffolding is terrible,’ says Cathy Matovu, the manager a Ça Va de Soi, ‘it made a huge negative impact. 46% of our traffic decreased.’

Local haute couture designer Frank Sukhoo says another issue has been increased competition from high-end American stores.

‘Simons is coming in, Nordstrom is here,’ says Sukhoo, ‘right in the Rideau Centre, so it's maybe easier for people to park in the Rideau Centre; one stop and they do all their shopping.’

So what happens to those 20 brides whose gowns will not be done?  Justina McCaffrey, who is David's ex-wife and still in the bridal business has offered to help.  She says those brides can contact her on her personal Facebook page, Justina McCaffrey, and she will  see what she can do.