If there is anything odd or different about the Becker store, it is its spreading fame; a fame reaching from Muskegon to Port Huron, and Adrian to Cheboygan.
Now operating under its fifth generation, the miracle and energy of Becker’s Bridal is rooted deeply in the rarest of legacies. As one of America’s oldest bridal stores, Becker’s has become a family tradition for brides from far and wide.
The Becker family has operated a business in Fowler since 1908 when Frank Becker purchased the general store of Charles Day, which was then located in the building that today is Miller’s Tavern. A few years later, the store moved into a frame building at the main intersection, the same location as the present store. However, in 1917, the business moved yet again and the old frame building was torn down to make way for The People’s Bank.
In 1922, Frank A. Becker, son of Frank Becker, Sr., assumed the business with his wife, Eva. Both were active in the store from the beginning. The general store became the Frank A. Becker Store and stocked shoes, clothing, dry goods among groceries, costume jewelry, and stationery. Eva became known as the stern, but powerful, “lady with apron and hat.”
After The Great Depression, The People’s Bank closed and on August 15, 1950, the way was clear for the Beckers to complete the cycle and the store returned to the corner location. This time, however, they occupied not only the handsome brick building, but also a spacious new addition that had been built around the Bank.
In 1934, the no-nonsense Mrs. Eva Becker started in the wedding gown business almost by accident. She purchased a gown in Chicago for her niece and her selection proved so popular she soon had many requests from other brides. The first wedding dress purchased from the Frank A. Becker Store was that of Mrs. Helen Frechen. And just as a 1955 article of “The Fowler Post” wrote, ‘since then the gowns have never ceased coming’.
But the Becker fame is the wedding dress department, which is the particular pride of Mrs. Becker. Brides have come to Becker’s from the far corners of Michigan.
In 1975, Frank’s son Clark and his wife, Sharon, not only continued the legacy, but evolved the once general store into “Becker’s Bridal & Menswear.” The new focus was on bridal and formal wear, along with a men’s clothing department. The old bank building was renovated, followed by another update to the main level in the late 70’s. Ever a family business, Mrs. Sharon Becker still recalls being called into supervise new carpet installation the day after the birth of her eighth child.
The Becker’s storefront expanded once again in 1986, when Clark and Sharon purchased an old brick building across the street from the bridal store. Once ‘Harvey’s Food, the building first sold street wear for several years before becoming a mothers’ and alteration department.
In 2005, after serving in the store since a young teenager, it was time that Clark and Sharon’s eldest daughter, Shelley, became the next generation of owners. Upon her official leadership, renovations began yet again, for both the bridal and special occasion stores. Bridesmaids and flower girls moved into the newly updated mothers store, meanwhile, the bridal salon underwent changes as well. It was during this time that the old bank vault, which at the time was simply hosting racks of destination gowns, was transformed into a room of soft church lighting and a single pedestal surrounded by infinity mirrors. “Magic” was how bride after bride would continue to describe their emotion in this room, and quickly word was out about the special old vault at Becker’s Bridal. In 2012, the room entered homes and hearts across the world when best-selling author, Jeffrey Zaslow published “The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters”.
The years that followed the success of “The Magic Room” brought on more great changes at Becker’s Bridal. After obtaining the neighboring building that was “KJ’s Cafe,” a full scale expansion and renovation began. In 2014, a grand re-opening marked the celebration of our 80th anniversary. Becker’s Bridal is now 3 storefronts wide, 10 thousand square feet, 16 dressing rooms, and two specially lit 360º viewing rooms. The entire store was re-lit and re-modeled for an elegant and romantic experience for all guests.
Now approaching our 85th year of serving over hundreds of thousands of brides, Becker’s continues to flourish as one of the nation’s oldest and largest bridal salons. Its family legacy endures as Shelley’s daughter, Alyssa, joins in the lineage of ownership. Always expanding and improving, Becker’s formalwear store will soon undergo a transformation into a new space for bridesmaids and Michigan’s largest Mother of the Wedding boutique.
The rich and long-standing history that makes us who we are today continues to bring generation after generation of Becker’s brides back to the little town of Fowler. We truly welcome our customers as family and look forward to you joining in our story for decades to come.