During the mid-1900s, Milwaukee's Historic Mitchell Street was a sea of lace, beads and white tulle. The street was dubbed "Bridal Row" because of its immense stock of bridal shops, but as time went on the number of shops began to dwindle.
All that's left of the golden age of the brides on Mitchell Street are two shops specializing in bridal apparel: Heim's Bridal, 1013 W. Historic Mitchell St, and Apollo Bridal Fashion, 1216 W. Historic Mitchell St.
Ji Lee, president and owner of Heim's Bridal for the last two years, says that her store has been located on the street since 1938, almost 70 years, and says that Heim's is now "the top dog on Mitchell Street."
Lee says that there were at least 20 bridal shops lining Mitchell Street back in the day.
In the late '90s, there was still a fair amount of bridal shops, but the two remaining shops speak to the changing of times. Mitchell Street also saw its share of department stores and shoppers in its day, but now the street is home to small grocery and several dollar stores. Heim's is located across the street from the Mitchell Street Mall still bearing the Schuster's Department Store name above its own sign. It also has a Payless shoe store as a neighbor. Apollo Bridal has a Domino's around the corner and a Hollywood Video only a few doors down.
With the amount of bridal shops alone in the past, Lee says that, of course, there was stiff competition. As years passed, all the stores began going out of business, moved away or just shut down. But as for the increase in business for Heim's, the boost has only been moderate.
But Lee says there are several things that a store like Heim's can provide for Milwaukee brides and other formal events that franchise bridal shops cannot.
"We carry bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, prom dresses, flower girl dresses, mother of bride dresses, and have group discounts," she says.
Lee promises that Heim's Bridal can make any wedding day as beautiful and as memorable as possible.
"Generation after generation of brides have chosen Heim's -- for its magnificent, sophisticated, effortless beauty and elegant styles, its unsurpassed quality and its friendly professional service."
Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.
However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.
Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson.
Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.