Country Bridals and Formal Wear

Cathy Furze, left, of Country Bridals and Formal Wear in Jaffrey, greets customers Yvette Axsom and her daughter, Hannah, of Keene, on a Friday afternoon in 2020.

JAFFREY — Main Street staple Country Bridals & Formal Wear has a new owner, but the shop is staying in the same family.

Elicia Bonham purchased the business from her mother, Cathy Furze, on July 1. The sale was first reported by the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

“We had planned it for sooner, but with everything that went down with COVID and everything, it ended up getting pushed off a little bit,” said Bonham, 44, of Jaffrey. “But she was ready to retire and go off and enjoy some other things, and I was ready to go forward.”

Furze purchased Country Bridals in 2002, and moved the business to Jaffrey, her daughter said. The shop — which offers bridal gowns and accessories, outfits for mothers brides and grooms, bridesmaid and prom dresses and tuxedo rentals and sales — has been in its current location at 17 Main St. since 2003.

Since taking over the store, Bonham — who worked for her mother on and off for years and worked as Country Bridals’ full-time manager for the past five years — said the business has overhauled its website, which makes scheduling appointments easier. The shop has also received some physical changes, she said.

“We’ve just updated different fitting rooms, done some painting and we’re working on different things like that,” she said.

Additionally, Bonham said she has instituted a variety of new training options for the store’s eight employees.

Overall, Bonham added, the transition has been smooth for her, despite the surge in business due to pent-up wedding demands stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been going great,” she said. “It’s very busy. Lots of weddings happening, so people are coming out and buying dresses. ... Right now, we’re working on alterations, but our alterations for the next couple of months have basically doubled with weddings that were postponed from last year, and weddings that were already scheduled for this year.”

Country Bridals & Formal Wear is open Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., though appointments are required for all customers.

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.