Celebrating 40 years
OWNER of Brides and Maids in Shepparton, Tina Rutherford has always been involved in local business here in the Shepparton area with her family, the Renatos who are synonymous with business in Shepparton.
Tina began her working career at the Commonwealth Bank Australia many years ago when she left school before going to manage her brother, Lou Renato’s service station, doing his book work and running his business.
Tina said, “I worked with my brother for approximately five years before I met a gorgeous man and I got married. My husband was the person who inspired me to start my own business.
“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what kind of business I should start, Shepparton seemed to cater for everything in those days, but once we began looking around I realised there were no dedicated bridal shops in Shepparton. I had enjoyed planning the details of my wedding so much that it seemed like an industry that I would really enjoy being a part of.
With the support of her mother, Tina found the perfect site, opening the first Brides and Maids store in 1973 in the Star Bowl Arcade.
Tina said, “The idea was simple, mum said we’ll buy fabrics, head gear and veils and bits and pieces, she would make the dresses and I would sell them in the shop.
“Mum made all of the dresses on her own for the first two and a half years, before the business started to really outgrow our small store.
“It was at this time that we were able to make contact with a manufacturer who created ready made bridal gowns. We explained that we had a small boutique and were interested in his garments, he sent us a sample selection of dresses to choose from and that was a real turning point for us. It was the best decision we made and really the start of much bigger things for us.
“Our next move was to a larger premises near the Queens Gardens in Wyndham Street, Shepparton where the travel agency is now. From there the business grew and grew. The demand became more and more and things really started to take off. It was also during this period of time that my husband lost his battle with cancer leaving me with three children. It was a very difficult time.
“After that, we made the decision to move to a much larger premises in Wyndham Street, where RACV is now. The premises turned out to be too large and the upkeep and stresses we experienced at that time were overwhelming.”
When Tina met her second husband, she was still grappling with the decision of whether to give up and close the business or not when the decision was made to move forward and find a new premises.
Tina said, “My husband said to me, you’re not closing up, we don’t close, we don’t fail.
“We started searching for a new premises and we discovered the High Street store. It had been empty for some time and was quite run down, so we put some work into it and renovated and it came up really well.
“In 1993, with the help of my husband, his strength and support, we opened up the new store and began the process of restoring our beloved Brides and Maids and building it back up.
“It’s been quite a journey.
“Forty years is a long time, but it doesn’t seem that long. I’d like to thank all of the people who have supported me over the last forty years, my family and friends. We’ve had some fabulous customers and a lot of repeat business, watching debutantes become brides and then watching them go on to see their daughters become debutantes and brides. It’s been wonderful.”
After 40 years, Brides and Maids continues today to be a well recognised and reputable bridal boutique delivering dream dresses to brides across the region.