LOGAN SQUARE — Thrifty brides-to-be will soon have a place to shop for high-end gowns for a fraction of the price in the neighborhood.
Logan Square native Maria Rubino, 33, is gearing up to open a discounted bridal shop in the building across from Family Thrift at 2167 N. Milwaukee Ave. once she clears city inspections.
Rubino's shop, Luxe Bridal Rack, will focus on sample and overstock gowns from high-end designers like Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier and Pronovias for 25 to 75 percent off the retail price. To start, Rubino has nearly 250 off-the-rack gowns to choose from.
The 33-year-old was inspired to open an affordable bridal shop once she realized how many brides-to-be fret over the high cost of designer gowns. When Rubino got engaged herself, the dress she loved was unattainable.
"With the internet and Instagram and Pinterest, people fall in love with these gowns without really knowing how much these gowns cost," said Rubino, who lives in Streeterville but was raised in Logan Square.
"You get a really sour taste in your mouth when you're pinning all of this stuff and you walk into the store, and you're like, 'This is what I can get with this budget.'"
Rubino, who holds degrees in economics and accounting from DePaul University, chose the Logan Square storefront because she has roots in the neighborhood. She grew up in the area and her parents have owned Lucky Vito's pizzeria, 1950 N. Kimball Ave., for 20 years.
Logan Square "has been a great neighborhood to them," she said of her parents. "I wanted to follow in my parents' footsteps and build my dream the same way they did."
The storefront is just steps away from the Congress Theater, which is set to be completely redeveloped in the coming years. But Rubino said it was the upward trajectory of the neighborhood — not the theater project — that brought her to that particular stretch of Milwaukee Avenue.
"It is an upcoming neighborhood that is trendy yet may not be as intimidating like downtown bridal salons that carry the same designers," Rubino said.