New Bedford’s Glass Slipper Set to Reopen After 7 Months
The Bernardos have been running Glass Slipper Shoes for 32 years. Manny, Guiomar and even their daughter Angie have all been there the entire run at 1721 Acushnet Ave.
Angie admits, they've had their challenges. In the heat of COVID-19, she was forced to bring her business to the online world.
"I even began my own Amazon-like business," she said. "Women still wanted to shop during the lockdown, so I would deliver shoes to the neighborhoods all day. We had to do what we needed to do to stay in business."
Friday the 13th
Then, August happened.
Friday the 13th.
As small businesses such as the Glass Slipper were trying to claw their way out of the pandemic, with inflation looming and shortages in the supply chain, BOOM. The accident.
Angie and her daughter had just landed after a flight from Los Angeles. They had spent the past few days buying their entire stock for the next season. Angie got the call just before midnight: Two cars had been traveling northbound on Acushnet Avenue. One had stopped to make a left-hand turn just before the store.
"The guy behind him slammed into him so hard that it changed his trajectory putting him straight through our front window," said Angie. "It made a hot mess of the store. The car was halfway inside."
The Glass Slipper spent the rest of the night boarding up the massive hole in its building. Shards of glass and pieces of brick were thrown all over the store. It looked like a bomb had gone off. Incredibly, everyone involved in the crash walked away uninjured.
Using the survival skills they learned during COVID, Angie and her parents decided to hold "backyard garage sales" every weekend behind their store until they were able to find a place to rent about 200 yards south of their store on Acushnet Avenue.
"We'd set up our racks outside every Saturday just to let people know what happened and that we were still here," she said.
They ended up going month to month at the nearby storefront, slowly but surely piecing together their original store.
To add insult to injury, the business found out it had been paying for an insurance policy that did not cover exterior damage to its building, meaning most of the rebuild has been paid out of pocket by the Glass Slipper owners.
"When the (insurance company) hands you that big, fat packet, you should actually read it," Angie said with a laugh.
When Will the Glass Slipper Reopen?
The store is getting set for a soft reopening next weekend before closing down again for a family wedding. They are targeting mid-April for the grand reopening.
"I can't wait to get back there," Angie said. "It's our home. It's where we belong."