LAKEWOOD RANCH — In a business moved aimed at offsetting rising expenses, one local not-for-profit is literally driving toward its financial and other goals.
Center for Building Hope, a Lakewood Ranch-based non-profit, announced this month it has acquired the national non-profit, Brides Against Breast Cancer.
The entity is known for its road show-style Nationwide Tour of Gowns bridal shows, at which brides can scour through hundreds of new and gently used designer wedding gowns being sold at a fraction of their retail price.
“The dresses are re-sold, and all the funds go back to helping people impacted by cancer,” said Amy Paulishak, Center for Building Hope’s vice president of business development. “We have access, at any given show, to at least 700 new people we can make aware of all the services for people impacted by cancer in that community.”
This year, more than 40 shows will be held at various locations throughout the country. A kickoff event in Sarasota will run Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, Paulishak said.
Center for Building Hope CEO Carl Ritter said the acquisition of Brides Against Breast Cancer is a creative, strategic move meant to help CSC raise funding as it expands its services, without burdening existing donors.
A critical analysis of CBH’s business plan several months ago showed CBH needed more revenues, because the organization assumed higher operating expenses and debt when it moved into its new facility in Lakewood Ranch about a year ago, Ritter said.
“We have this wave of expenses rising, all for the right reasons,” Ritter said, noting the organization’s operating budget doubled in one year, as did its participant base and demand for programming.
CBH then began looking for an organization it could acquire to help increase cash flow while fulfilling its mission. After reviewing many organizations, Brides Against Breast Cancer rose to the top.
“It’s business (fundamentals) were very solid, and its mission lined up with ours,” Ritter said. “We knew we could fix the issues it was dealing with.”
CBH will monetize gowns donated to Brides Against Breast Cancer — about 3,000 annually — at Nationwide Tour of Gowns bridal show events held nationwide. Funds will help support programs locally at CBH, as well as in the towns in which shows are held, Ritter said.
Brides Against Breast Cancer is leasing a 3,500-square-foot space at 6279 Lake Osprey Drive to act as a bridal retail store and bridal dress preparation center. Although the dress preparation center should open in the next month, the retail store likely will open in March, Paulishak said.
Additionally, in the next 30 days, Brides Against Breast Cancer will launch and e-commerce website, through which brides can purchase gowns available at the organization’s preparation center, Ritter said.
Brides who purchase dresses through Brides Against Breast Cancer shows are being encouraged to donate their dress back after their wedding.
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation assisted CBH with the project’s startup costs.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY THE NUMBERS
74 — Number of wedding gowns sold during a Tour of Gowns event Jan. 20-22, in Oregon
160 — Average number monthly of first-time users of services at Cancer Support Community
450 — Average price paid for wedding gown at a Nationwide Tour of Gowns show
3,000 — Number of wedding gowns donated annually to Brides Against Breast Cancer
34,000 — Amount in dollars raised at Tour of Gowns show held Jan. 20-22
Brides wishing to donate their wedding attire to Brides Against Breast Cancer can ship their gown and accessories to Brides Against Breast Cancer,6279 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240.
Shipments should include the appropriate donation form, which can be found online at www.bridesagainst breastcancer.org.
Dresses must be 2007 or newer. Donations are tax deductible.