A Plymouth bridal store abruptly closed at the end of December, leaving some brides-to-be without a dress as their wedding day approaches.

Debbie Thomas, owner of the Bridal Spot, began clearing out her store after Christmas and had all of her merchandise out before New Year's Day, according to property manager Martha Anderson.

Anderson last spoke with Thomas on Dec. 28 to confirm that Thomas was not renewing her lease for 2013. Since then, Thomas has not returned any calls, and her voice mailbox is full.

A clerk at the Wabi Sabi home furnishings store next door said that she has had five people come in looking for information on what happened at the Bridal Spot since the beginning of January.

"I understand the emotion and energy that goes into weddings, and it's a very unfortunate situation that [Thomas] is putting these brides through," said Anderson. "I've called her and pleaded with her to return these calls, but I have yet to find one bride that she's answering."

The Plymouth Police Department has received one complaint about the Bridal Spot, but it was determined that it was a civil matter rather than a criminal one, according to Sgt. Investigator Chris Kuklok.

Negative online reviews

The Bridal Spot LLC was incorporated on June 14, 2011, and since then has received a host of bad reviews online, including two complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

"The sudden closing of businesses has gotten more common during this period of economic downturn, dating back four or five years now," said Dan Hendrickson, a spokesperson with the BBB.

Hendrickson said that customers may be able to reclaim their deposits if they were paid with a credit card by speaking with the credit card company. If a business files for bankruptcy, a spurned customer can sue as a creditor, but the Bridal Spot has not filed for bankruptcy.

The last course of action would be for customers to file a claim in conciliation court.

"The problem you're going to have is that you're probably looking at an insolvent defendant," said Mark Heaney, a consumer rights attorney based in Minnetonka.

"But a lot of the time, once you've served the complaint on the defendant, you'll get a call from them saying 'let's work something out.' "