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Devastating accident leads to life-altering career change for Greenville business owner

Krys Merryman //April 19, 2023//

Devastating accident leads to life-altering career change for Greenville business owner

Krys Merryman //April 19, 2023//

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Owner Mary Grace Carey said the ratio of bridal shops to brides is relatively low in Greenville. (Photo/Bloom Bridal)From practicing law to owning a bridal shop, a Greenville business owner pivoted careers after a “devastating” accident.

In 2019 a young attorney was on her way to a doctor’s appointment when she was struck by an ambulance while in her vehicle. Following the collision, Mary Grace Carey experienced a loss of full function of her right wrist, arm and hand, in addition to a concussion. The injuries had long-lasting effects. Unable to sit at a desk, write or type for the long periods required to practice law, Carey stepped away from the profession.

That bump in the road led her to follow another passion — the bridal industry, an interest that stems from her preteen years watching the hit reality TV show “Say Yes to the Dress.”

“This show really made an impact on me, and after watching it for so long, I started gaining interest in the industry, looking at dress designers, bridal couture, but never took it seriously, anything beyond a hobby,” said Carey, now the owner of Broom Bridal, a newly opened bridal shop in Greenville.

Owner Mary Grace Carey said she may return to law someday, but in the meantime wants to establish a Greenville institution through her bridal shop. (Photo/Bloom Bridal)Even as she attended law school, she maintained a heavy interest in helping friends and family shop for wedding dresses and ended up getting the nickname, “the Dress Whisperer.” Carey started getting invites to more and more bridal dress appointments, but it remained something she did just for fun.

“It was a joke in the courtroom, because I had wedding dresses pulled up on my computer during court recess, and people thought I was getting married, but that wasn’t the case,” Carey said. “It was a silly thing I never considered as a career.”

In the weeks after her accident, Carey had to limit neck movement, so she turned to listening to more podcasts and re-watching the TV show that sparked her interest in the bridal industry.

“One day I was watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ with my sister, and I turned to her and said, ‘I could do that,’ and she said yes you can,” Carey said.

She started researching the industry in-depth and calling different nationally recognized bridal shops to learn more, finding them generous with information. She came across another bridal shop owner who had been a paralegal, and they bonded over law — and her potential to be a bridal shop business owner.

“She said it was the best decision she ever made, making the career transition, and she had never been happier,” said Carey. “I kept hearing that over and over again. I would love to go back to law one day again if I can, but in the meantime, getting to be with the brides, and coming into the picture when it’s in celebration versus in a crisis, makes for a happier day-to-day.”

Blooming — in more ways than one

Customers make the best of their time while shopping for the right wedding attire. (Photo/Bloom Bridal)When it came to the name of Bloom Bridal, Carey said not only does she love alliteration, but there is a saying about how you can trample 1,000 flowers, but you cannot stop the spring.

“The thought of being indomitable really hit home for me,” she said. “Floral-inspired names are widely adopted in the wedding industry, so I’m paying homage to keeping to the theme but also the name symbolizes a bouquet and blooming into being a bride. The personal meaning for me just all came together.”

Bloom Bridal is located at One City Plaza and celebrated its grand opening on Valentine’s Day, while other collaborators in the Greenville wedding industry assisted with a special opening.

Carey said the shop is “superb,” as it has its own stairwell entrance and elevator access in addition to views of downtown Greenville, and accessibility to all is really important to her.

“I wanted to have a space anyone could get to, and many people can park in the Richardson Street garage in the plaza, so we are getting a lot of eyes on it that way, too,” said Carey.

The interior of the shop is inspired by the beauty of Versailles and the welcoming vibe of Parisian floral shops, she said.

“It’s beautiful but not in a hoity toity way,” Carey added. “I’ve been to a lot of different bridal shops and they either have a big open space with minimal privacy or vice versa.”

Bloom Bridal features three private suites, with an aisle of a long runway, arch and mirror, so when it’s time for the bride to show off her potential wedding dress, they will hand her a bouquet, turn on the music, and she has the opportunity to see the dress in different lighting instead of standing still in front of a mirror the whole time, Carey said.

“It’s a moment of grandeur, and this way, the bride can see the gown from all angles and feel comfortable moving in it,” she added.

The bridal shop highlights designers from all over the world, Carey said. For example, one of their designers is from Ukraine, so they get in dresses that not many — if any — United States bridal shops will carry.

Carey said she wanted to bring elegance without pretension to the local bridal retail scene. (Photo/Bloom Bridal)“This enhances the experience greatly,” she said. “At Bloom, we guarantee you will feel unique as a bride, and we always make sure to take a dress out of the showroom if a bride is interested in it.”

The shop also has dresses that are colorful, have different designs, in addition to different lengths, styles such as jumpsuits and pantsuits, and the traditional white and ivory dresses, and sizes that are inclusive with a wide range of sizes in each item — dresses that will cater to any bride.

“Everyone will have an option here,” Carey added. “The goal is to make brides really happy and give them an experience that’s more than just buying a dress. If it’s done right, buying your wedding dress will be a really special memory to hang onto. We want to make the moment more beautiful and seamless.”

Carey said she wants to build a business that lasts, that is beautiful and timeless, and she thinks Greenville really needed a wedding dress shop like Bloom Bridal. She pointed out that the city has one of the lowest per capita wedding dress shop options — with brides often traveling to Charlotte or Atlanta to search for their perfect gown.

“I want to make Greenville a wedding destination and want to keep and make our brides here happy,” she said. “We are adding to the beauty of the city and helping downtown bloom, and I want Bloom to not just be a name but an institution.”

For more information on what Bloom Bridal offers visit or visit their Instagram page @bloombridalgreenville.