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Hundreds of wedding gowns going for $50 each at Marissas Closet
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Theres a definite excitement in trying on wedding gowns even if a girl doesnt have a groom in her immediate future. Friends Hailee Bouthillier, left, and Jasmyne Godoy got an early bird peek at what is available at Marissas Closet for just $50 on Tuesday. Hailees dress had a price tag of $590. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — Hundreds of new wedding gowns are being offered to the public again this Saturday for only $50 each at Marissa’s Closet in the former Ripon Drug Store building in the 400 block of West Main Street.

Melinda Shaw said the remaining gowns, along with prom dresses that have been offered to high school girls, will be put into storage in the next two weeks to make way for a move to a new location in Ripon. It will be next door to the Pizza Plus Pizza Parlor at the main intersection of Main Street and Stockton Avenue, but renovation will take a period of time to complete.

The Closet doors are slated to open at 9 a.m. Saturday for the wedding gown sale that will continue until 3 in the afternoon. In addition to the dresses, the shop also has a collection of shoes, handbags and accessories. The dresses have never been worn and all sizes are available, Shaw said.

The first bridal gown sale by the non-profit family operation was held at the end of January when a line of future brides and their mothers surrounded the store waiting for it to open that morning hoping to be among the first to select their gowns.

One excited future bride who found her “perfect dress” in January was getting married in the snow near Reno. She said that by getting her gown for only $50 she could invite three more guests to her ceremony and reception.

The gowns had been offered to Marissa’s Closet free of charge by two bridal shops, both owned by the same person. The stock – many still with price tags – came from Jamie Bridal in Pleasanton and Beautiful Beginnings Bridal in Turlock. Both were in the process of downsizing their operations.

The bridal shop owner said she wanted to help Marissa’s Closet in its “warm-hearted” mission to provide prom dresses at no cost to high school girls who would otherwise not be able to attend their proms.

The net profits from the wedding dresses sold on Saturday will go into Marissa’s fund to provide more prom and winter formal gowns for high school girls in the coming year. In the last three years students have traveled from all over Central and Northern California to visit the Ripon non-profit for their dresses, shoes and purses. Some have had their bids purchased for them and others have called from as far away as Southern California inquiring as to what was available.

In the distant cases of those students or their parents calling on the phone, Melinda Shaw had selected three gowns according to measurements and unique tastes, sending pictures on line to the girls. When a gown was selected she would ship the prom dress – also free of charge – even one going to the Midwest.

Marissa’s Closet has also sponsored special education proms for high school students in Modesto and as far away as Sacramento during recent years.