By Carina Livoti
When sisters and Cold Spring Harbor natives Tori, 24, and Leigh Mardovich, 28, realized that many friends and colleagues in their age group were getting married, they saw a business opportunity.
“We thought there was a lack of an upscale bridal boutique,” Leigh said.
The Mardovichs loved fashion, but both opted for education and careers in business. Still, they’d talked about someday opening a bridal shop.
“I’ve always loved fashion and we’d been talking about it for years,” Tori said.
Tori was working as a CPA and Leigh, who had been a CPA prior, was teaching in Lloyd Harbor when the 85 Main St. property where the shop currently resides became available in Cold Spring Harbor village in 2014.
The space in their hometown prompted the pair to take the plunge. In April 2014, they began conceptualizing the business that would become Harbor Bridal, which opened on Nov. 9, 2014.
The shop, which is light blue and girly as can be, has an intimate feel. Leigh and Tori take on just one bride at a time. Pictures of their mother and grandmothers in their wedding gowns hang on the wall. Bridesmaids dresses are tucked away on the second level of the historic building.
“We wanted to create an experience; we thought about how we would want to feel,” Leigh said.
Brides can schedule 90-minute appointments where they work one-on-one with the owners to choose a dress. Tori added that they personally select each dress, taking into account what their clients are looking for.
“When we started, we originally wanted to find dresses that were unique, things that would make brides stand out, but that changed. [After we got going] we started to look for what our brides had been requesting,” Tori said.
She added that the shop is the exclusive Long Island retailer for all of the dresses they carry, meaning that you cannot find the same dresses at any shop on the Island.
As Leigh skittered off to help a walk-in bride make some selections, Tori said that one of her favorite parts of working in bridal is really getting to know the brides.
“You work with them for six to eight months… It’s nice to really get to know someone,” she said.
She added that she and her sister are already amazed by the customer loyalty; many brides even came back just to visit, she said.
“We’re six months in, so we’re excited for the future,” she said.