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Downtown wedding boutique opens

Chelsea Sherlock, Reporter

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After seven years of operating an online business, Rachel and Ted Alvia officially opened their dress shop in downtown Evanston on Wednesday.

Avail & Company, 1106 Davis St., hosted its ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening Wednesday night. The business’ opening was the result of the owners’ desire to expand their business, along with the cooperation of Downtown Evanston, a business networking collaborative.

“It’s surreal,” owner Ted Alvia said. “It really is.”

The business primarily creates custom bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, as well as other formal wear.

The husband-and-wife duo began scouting for a location in June, looking in both Chicago and Evanston. The owners said they ultimately decided to open a store in Evanston because many of their previous customers had come from the area.

While in Evanston, the Alvias came across the Downtown Evanston office, where they met executive director Carolyn Dellutri. Dellutri informed them about the vacant Davis Street space, which the couple visited that same night.

“We looked in the window, and Rachel turned to me and said ‘I can actually picture myself here, this is the first place,’” Ted said.

After touring the space, the Alvias began the process of securing the real estate. They officially moved in Aug. 4.

Members of Downtown Evanston, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and the owners’ friends attended Wednesday’s opening.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who wielded the giant scissors at the ribbon-cutting event, said she was pleased with the addition of the bridal business.

“We are so glad you decided to choose Evanston,” Tisdahl said during the opening ceremony. “This officially makes Evanston a wedding destination.”

Dellutri said Avail & Company’s opening completed the process of making Evanston a “one-stop shopping” destination for weddings.

The opening was dedicated to Ted’s father, who died in September and strongly supported the business.

Since moving in, about 30 dresses have been shipped from the Evanston store. It takes approximately six months to create each dress, Ted said.

“It’s a very nice space and we’re very happy to be in Evanston,” Rachel said.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the Alvias’ last name. Their last name is Alvia, not Avila. The Daily regrets the error.