SelectOFALLON Business Spotlight: Cleo Bridal
Before going to the chapel to get married, a bride’s first stop should be Cleo Bridal, located in O’Fallon’s historic Krekel House.
Jessica and Jason Orf always loved Krekel House, the first home built in the town in the mid-1800s and named after Nicolas Krekel, the co-founder of O’Fallon. When the property went up for sale in early 2017, the couple jumped at the opportunity as the perfect place to expand Jessica’s boutique wedding dress business.
Securing the house, however, didn’t come without challenges. First was all the repair work needed on a building that had sat unused for years. The second was the extensive process required to purchase a city-owned property with historical significance. Enter O’Fallon Economic Development Director Patrick McKeehan and his team, who were ready to help Jessica achieve the business expansion of which she had always dreamed.
“The SelectOFALLON team is enthusiastic about the growth of the city and wants to ensure businesses have the assistance they need to be successful,” says Jessica. “They set out to make the processes for expanding or building a business accessible and streamlined, and I experienced that firsthand.”
While the city’s elected officials considered their options on selling the Krekel House, SelectOFALLON staff advised Jessica on which City Hall meetings to attend, provided guidance on completing important paperwork, and kept the city’s building inspectors informed on project timelines and permit applications. In less than 90 days, Jessica and Jason went from initial interest to ownership of a landmark structure in downtown O’Fallon.
“The SelectOFALLON team had the expertise and energy to get our project approved and underway in an extremely short time frame,” Jessica adds.
In a quick five months, the Orfs completely remodeled the Krekel House into a light and airy shop that exuded a combination of old-world charm and modern elegance. Jessica says the SelectOFALLON team visited often during the renovations, stopping by to check in on how things were going and if she needed further assistance. Economic Development Specialist Patty Brown worked with Jessica on introductions to the O’Fallon community. She helped facilitate their groundbreaking event and coordinated a video with the city to promote Cleo Bridal’s official grand opening in December 2017.
Jessica says those SelectOFALLON check-ins continue to this day.
“When it comes to finding what might be a good fit within reason for the community, Patrick and his team are so resourceful about uncovering what the community can provide back to new businesses,” says Jessica. “They are always willing to reach out to us when anything that could affect our business pops up. They do it because they genuinely care about O’Fallon’s business community and want the city to succeed and grow.”
If you want to find your own success in our city’s fast-growing business community, the SelectOFALLON team can help. Visit www.selectofallon.com/doing-business-here or call 636-379-5532 to learn more!