After 58 years in Sacramento, the family-owned House of Fashion Bridal Salon & Tuxedo will be closing its last remaining store at the end of November as its owners retire.
David Murai, 75, who owns House of Fashion alongside his wife Karen, 72, said at their age “it’s time” to retire, and business has been declining recently.
Murai’s daughter, Jennifer Davis-Murai, said internet shopping has made it hard to compete in the bridal industry and after the 2008 financial crisis they began seeing fewer customers.
“Like a lot of other brick-and-mortar stores, in the bridal industry, girls would come in to try on gowns ... then go out and buy it on the internet,” Murai said.
House of Fashion was founded as a dress shop in 1960 by Naomi Yagi, Karen Murai’s mother. Yagi died in August 2017, according to Davis-Murai.
David and Karen Murai expanded the business in 1996 when they bought a former bank branch at 2101 J Street, which serves as their only remaining storefront.
In 2015, the family consolidated its two stores, and began operating solely out of the Midtown location, which has already been sold, Murai said.
Customers now have different expectations, Davis-Murai said, in that they may not be as interested in having consultants and stylists guide them through the bridal process.
Many young people are waiting longer to get married and are already struggling to get by, Murai said, so when they do get married, they might just have a simple courthouse ceremony.
When Davis-Murai began working at House of Fashion in the early 2000s, first in customer service, then later as a manager, she said the business was one of the larger bridal outlets in the region with about 40 employees, but has since shrunk to 10.
“I really enjoyed getting up and coming to work,” Murai said. “I’m really, really sad to be leaving. If there was a brighter picture ahead, I’d try to stick it out more, but we’ve been trying to stick it out for 15 years.”
Although the family is still discussing selling the business, Murai said he does not anticipate that someone would be interested in buying it.
Murai said he hopes for an active retirement full of babysitting, golf, volunteering, and other part-time work.