Coronavirus concerns cancel National Bridal Market Chicago trade show, leaving small independent shops scrambling

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In East Dundee, bridal shop owner David Gaffke went through his stock, unsure of when he will be able to replenish it after one of the leading wedding dress expos was canceled this weekend.

"That's going to leave a devastating impact with small mom and pop shops, bridal salons across the country," Gaffke said.

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He is one of many bridal shop owners that rely on the national Bridal Market Chicago tradeshow to revamp and restock their stores. According to Gaffke, losses across the Midwest wedding industry will be high.

"Millions of dollars is being lost this weekend," he said.

The COVID-19 trickle-down effect has been ongoing in the wedding industry, with planners, venues and vendors preparing as some couples contemplate the postponement or, worse case, cancellation of their big days.

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"If weddings are now canceled, you have photographers, you have bakeries, you have catering companies. You have all these that are no longer going to be employed that day," Gaffke said.

"So if we lose out on this business that we have built into our budget for the year, it can really impact us significantly," said Charlene Liang, owner and lead wedding planner for Sweetchic Events.

Liang said so far none of her clients have made major changes, but she still has to prepare for that possibility.

With this ever-changing situation, people in the wedding industry ABC7 Eyewitness News spoke with said all they can do is wait and hope for the best for their brides and their own businesses.
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