WYOMING, Mich. — Hispanic culture is all about family and tradition. Wrap those two things up in a beautiful gown, and you have a quinceanera.
But like many things quinceaneras were postponed during the pandemic, leaving businesses that support the cultural life event, without any business.
Thankfully today, those events are picking back up and businesses are benefitting from it.
"We opened the business back in 2018 I want to say, so a year before the whole pandemic started," said Pammela Flores Garcia, manager of her family's business Princess Paradise.
Princess Paradise is a boutique in Wyoming specializing in baptism, christening, and quinceanera gowns and services.
Garcia says their top seller at Princess Paradise is quinceanera gowns.
"The big poufy gowns, kind of like wedding dresses, but in just different colors," said Garcia.
As extravagant as a wedding, quinceaneras are a Hispanic tradition that every young girl dreams about.
"A quinceanera is a Hispanic tradition, where a young girl goes from a little girl to a woman," said Garcia. "It's like the transition of them from going to a little girl to a woman. It's really when they go into the church and present her as a real member of the church."
When it comes to planning a quinceanera, the dress is everything.
"The dress is really what makes the whole quinceanera a quinceanera," said Garcia. "Because if you don't have a dress, it's kind of like, the bride without a dress."
Princess Paradise opened and thrived its first year of business in 2018, but like every other business, was hit hard during the pandemic.
Forced to close their doors for three months, the family struggled to re-open their doors as they battled Covid within their own family.
"When we tried to come back, family members got sick. And I mean, our sales went down by more than 50% for sure," said Garcia. "Usually in a good year, we'll sell around 60 to 70 dresses. And during the COVID season, we didn't even have half of that. A lot of dresses were canceled."
Like weddings, homecomings, and proms - most quinceaneras were canceled, postponed, or held in a private setting outdoors to meet CDC restrictions.
But today, things are headed in a good direction.
Quinceaneras are back on and business at Princess Paradise is busier than ever - but that influx in business doesn't come without struggles.
"The dresses are ordered months ahead," said Garcia. "So like usually three to five months is about the average time. Right now we're having to order the dresses six to eight months ahead because there are not enough workers at the companies where they make the dresses."
Similar to their distributors, Garcia and her family struggle to keep up with their customers.
"They spend hours here and we don't have enough people to, you know, help. So I guess you could say that we're busier than we expect it to be because we obviously don't have enough help here just yet."
But Garcia and her family are hopeful that with the support of their customers, they'll be able to fulfill young girl's dreams - one gown at a time.
Princess Paradise is located at 654 28th St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509.
To learn more about hours and services at Princess Paradise, click here.