Charles Willis, the Buckhead wedding gift boutique brides have trusted for over 60 years, has closed.
It was another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the industry by delaying countless weddings and other large-scale events.
In a letter addressed to current brides who used the store for their wedding registries and posted to Facebook June 4, the store’s staff wrote, “We are saddened to let you know that after 60 years we have found it necessary to close Charles Willis. Due to the COVID-19 interruption and the uncertainty of many of our suppliers to deliver in a timely manner, if at all, we are unable to sustain our business.”
Enclosed in the letter to brides were refunds for any unused credits on their wedding registry accounts.
Wordon Willis, whose father Charles started the business, posted the letter to Facebook along with a message about its closure.
“I am so very touched to feel everyone's sympathy here and my father Charles and Uncle Walter would be as well,” he said. “After Charles passed away, the shop was sold and it has been run so beautifully ever since.
“He had a good run of it. My father, Charles Willis, started the business originally on Baltimore block in Atlanta (or so I have been told) in the 1940s and it made it has made it into 2020! I am so proud of the staff throughout those years for making that happen and so thankful to all who have shopped there over the years.”
In response to Wordon Willis’ message, 29 fans of the store posted comments in honor of its closure.
“Another one of Atlanta's institutions is put to rest,” Elizabeth Tate said. “My father always bought my mother's jewelry from Charles Willis. I still wear some of it.”
Marti Speed said, “What a class act from beginning to end. How many wonderful memories and people loved that store. Endings are so very sad. I am sorry Worden.”
Calls to the store were not unanswered, and its voicemail inbox was full, so no messages could be left. An email message sent to Edyth Shadburn, the store’s owner, seeking comment on its closure, was not immediately returned.