Arlington Heights bridal shop owner accused of taking money for dresses, then ghosting customers

Samantha Chatman Image
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Bridal shop owner accused of taking money, then ghosting customers
The owner of Ava Nicole Bridal Suite in Arlington Heights is accused of taking money for wedding dresses that never arrive and not issuing refunds.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- The Arlington Heights Police Department is investigating a suburban bridal shop owner who is accused of taking money for wedding gowns that never arrive, and not refunding her customers' cash.

Donieshia Wade contacted the I-Team after she paid Monique Pruitt, owner of Ava Nicole Bridal Suite, $2,300 for a wedding dress that never arrived. She said Pruitt promised to give her a refund, then ghosted her.

Her wedding is Saturday.

"I wasn't as excited to have my wedding anymore because of what happened to me," Wade said.

Wade said it all started when she put her trust in Pruitt, who she said assured her she could order the dress and get it altered and delivered by July.

She said Pruitt required the payment via Zelle and said she'd be in touch. But when July came, Wade said she couldn't get in touch with the bridal shop owner.

"I called the number I had on the owner, it was disconnected," she recounted. "So, I'm freaking out at this point. I'm panicking."

Wade said when she visited the business in person, it was empty. She messaged Pruitt on Facebook and finally got a call back.

"When Monique called me, she stated that she relocated because the location was too small," Wade said. "So we talked. I'm calming down, like, OK, good!"

She said Pruitt told her to come by her new location in Kildeer, but the day of the fitting she said Pruitt canceled more than four times. Wade said Pruitt even told her she would come by her house to drop the dress off, but never showed up.

Alethea Kuhn said she paid Pruitt more than $700 for her mother of the bride dress, which was supposed to be delivered in May.

"I felt like I had just been conned," Kuhn said. "She pretty much ghosted me at that point. I reached out to her three or four times, it was nothing."

"You are robbing people that are trying to support your business," she added.

Arlington Heights police are now investigating three cases involving Pruitt.

In a statement, the Police Chief Nicholas A. Pecora, Jr. said in part, "Ms. Pruitt is alleged to have accepted payment (partial to full) for wedding dresses and failed to deliver. These cases remain active investigations."

Pruitt also released a statement, saying in part, "I am a small business owner, with over 25 years of customer service experience. Some would even say excellent service...This past Spring, Google took down my ads due to an internal issue, requiring me to re-verify my business. This severely hurt business, resulting in fewer traffic to my website, which equals fewer brides through my doors...I struggled to keep the doors open, lights on, etc. When revenue became vendors began to place holds on my accounts until the accounts were caught up to date. This threw nearly everything over the edge. A few of my brides' dresses were caught in this situation, and I have been able to save nearly all of them and render them their gowns."

Pruitt said she will honor refunds for those that have been negatively impacted by late deliveries, and takes full responsibility as it was never her intention to ruin anyone's big day. But Kuhn and Wade said they still haven't received a dime.

"If you can do this to someone and leave them without a dress on their wedding day, you're heartless," Wade said. "She's without a soul."

Both women said they had to pay more money to get new dresses.

Police said anyone who paid for a wedding gown with Ava Nicole Bridal Suite in Arlington Heights and did not receive delivery or a refund should file a police report with their agency.