When Lorraine Roy Women's Appearel leaves Danvers Square at the end of the year, it won’t be going far.
Across town, Bella Sera Bridal has bought Lorraine Roy and part of its inventory and plans to keep the name, merging the two stores that will mean a portion of Bella Sera on Route 114 will be called “Lorraine Roy at Bella Sera.”
“It will be a store in a store,” said Lisa Almeida, co-owner of Bella Sera Bridal.
The merger will be complete on Jan. 1.
The two businesses have worked together for the past seven years, at first when Bella Sera was located on Route 114 in Middleton and later when it moved down the road to its current location in a plaza over Giblee's in 2009.
“We talked with each other to make sure we did not carry the same lines,” said Lorraine Roy owner Jeanne Hennessey. In addition, both stores often referred customers to each other.
Bella Sea owners Almeida and Heidi Nicholson have already been working with Hennessey. All three recently completed a buying trip to the “Bridal Market” in Chicago earlier this month, where they all introduced each other to the people they have been working with in the industry.
“It solidified our thoughts that we will work well together,” Hennessey said.
Hennessey will be a consultant to Bella Sera after the merger is complete. Loraine Roy has four employees and Almeida said she has been interviewing them in recent days and talking to them about moving over to Bella Sera.
Before the merger is even complete, all three will work together on the “Illusions” event on Nov. 1 at the Danversport Yacht Club, which is hosted by Loraine Roy and is a fashion show following cocktails, dinner and “Howling at the Moon” piano show. The event benefits the Beast Oncology Program at the Massachusetts General-North Shore Cancer Center.
Lorraine Roy was opened by Roy in 1952 and has been in two other locations in Danvers Square before its current location at 30 Maple St.
Hennessey bought it in the late 1990s from Roy’s son, Donald and his wife Judy. She said she began looking at options for the future of the business when she was faced with the end of the store’s lease on Dec. 31.
Hennessey said that Lorraine Roy shares the same “fashion ideals and customer service standards” with Bella Sera.
The combination of the two businesses unites the bridal gown business of Bella Sera with the special occasion dress business of Lorraine Roy. Bella Sera also has a staff member that does alterations.
“It really will be one-stop shopping,” said Nicholson.
Lorraine Roy stopped carrying bridal dresses about a year ago.
“The majority of our business in mother of the bride,” Hennessey said, but also noted that its dresses have been worn to some of the biggest nights of the year, including the Oscars, Emmys and the inaugural ball. Hennessey said Lorraine Roy has attracted customers from all over New England for many years. And when they come to Danvers, they often seem to find themselves lost on Route 114, calling her for direction.
By moving to the commercial strip, it would give easy access to customers who use either Route 128 or I-95 to get to the store, she said. Plus, there’s easier parking and more room – Bella Sera is almost three times the size of Lorraine Roy.
Hennessey said she didn’t know what business would move into Loraine Roy’s existing Danvers Square store once it is empty, but said there has been interest in the 3,200 square foot space.
While Bella Sera will buy some of the Lorraine Roy inventory, other portions of it will be sold in a moving sale that will begin later this month.