Bridal Path moving to Madison
MADISON – Bridal Path owner Audrey McCarty said moving her business here near where she grew up is something truly special.
McCarty, a Madison native, has owned Bridal Path since 2018 after she graduated from Mississippi State University.
She said her journey in the bridal business is nothing more than a blessing and can’t wait for Bridal Path to open to the public sometime in 2023.
“This whole experience has been a God thing,” McCarty said. “The way I fell into this, the way it’s grown, and the way this business has been so successful. It’s been a long combination of wanting to invest in people and make sure they feel comfortable and confident on the biggest days of their lives.”
McCarty’s interest in the bridal business began when she was a teenager. She said ever since she was able to drive, she’s worked in retail and started by selling prom and pageant dresses at a local boutique in Starkville while attending Mississippi State University as a freshman.
She knew she wanted to combine her love for people and passion into one thing, so she reached out to Bridal Path looking for an internship. Instead, they hired her as a sales consultant that following summer.
“My sister Ameila came into the business the following semester,” McCarty said. “We felt we were an important part of the staff at Bridal Path. They took a leap of faith and hired me when I was a freshman in college, and I knew I wanted to work at Bridal Path or open a store. They offered the store to me when I was a senior at MSU, and I took over in May 2018.”
Bridal Path opened in Jackson in 1969, and over the past year and a half, McCarty finally decided the store needed a new home due to limited storage space.
It originated on Lakeland Drive, where The Quarter House apartments are now. They then moved to a house across from St. Dominic’s and finally to Banner Hall in 1994.
McCarty said since Bridal Path is a one-stop-shop, the store needs room for everything offered and storage for everyone who has purchased items like dresses and gowns.
“We had a lot of weddings postponed during COVID, and we were storing a lot of peoples’ things,” McCarty said. “We had more weddings happening once COVID calmed down and our storage space filled up. We felt we had used all our room and started discussing a new location with more space.”
After considering her options, McCarty decided to move her business to Madison.
“We didn’t have a lot of spacious options in Jackson to build, so we needed to find a place that still felt like home but felt like a prime location for building this,” she said. “I grew up in Madison, and I love it with all my heart. It felt right when we found a piece of land available on Main Street. It felt so special to me to have a business here in close proximity to where I grew up. I think it’ll grow a lot along with that whole area growing so much. We’re very excited to be a part of it.”
McCarty said the new store will hopefully open to the public near the end of summer 2023. Once the Madison location is complete, Bridal Path in Jackson will close.
“We hope to bring the same Bridal Path experience, just in a bigger, newer space,” McCarty said. “We want everyone to know it’ll be the same Bridal Path but with an upgrade. We’re excited to be in Madison. Mayor Mary is incredible.”
Janie Jarvis, McCarty’s mother and alderman for Ward 3 in Madison, co-owns Bridal Path and handles finances at the store, including paying bills and taxes and manages the payroll.
“We’re proud to own a business that’s been around for over 50 years and continue the tradition Jackson has been proud to have,” Jarvis said. “Madison has been our home for years are we’re excited to have Bridal Path be a part of it.”
Jarvis recalled McCarty coming home one weekend from MSU and wanting to work at a bridal store for the summer, and she suggested Bridal Path.
“Audrey worked for them during the summer and holidays,” Jarvis said. “Her sister Amelia got involved working there right before she finished high school. Once Audrey was a senior in college, the previous owner came to us and asked if we were interested in purchasing it.”
“I had not worked in 22 years, being a stay-at-home mom, and when we decided to purchase Bridal Path, my background was banking, finance, and real estate,” Jarvis said. “I learned the back office part of Bridal Path and mostly self-taught myself how to handle the finances.”
She said Bridal Path’s reputation is known for being friendly and welcoming.
“We make people feel very much at ease and make sure they have a great experience, no matter who it is,” Jarvis said. “That’s what Madison is all about, and we’ll fit right in with that. Bridal Path has always been a destination, as we’ve gotten customers from 3 hours away before. We want to continue to grow and prosper, and moving to Madison will help that.”
The new Bridal Path store will be located on Main Street right off Highway 463 across from Half Shell Oyster House. For more information about Bridal Path, visit their website at www.bridalpathinc.com.