Ultra Chic Boutique dress sale raises $16,120 for Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association

Omaha based dry cleaner Max I. Walker gives back in multiple ways by recycling formal gowns and selling them at an affordable price to raise funds for the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association.  During their 15th Annual Ultra Chic Boutique dress sale, they raised $16,120.

Donated dresses that are dry cleaned by Max. I Walker are hung up for the Ultra Chic Boutique 2024 dress sale.

The giving starts with the original dress owner donating their gown(s) to any Max. I Walker location.  This creates a positive pipeline, keeping textiles from landfills and providing the “made-to-be-worn-once” dress a second chance.  The Max. Walker’s staff at all 10 metro locations accept donations year-round to clean, press and store.

The formal gowns sell for $40 and wedding dresses for $80. This year the two-day event sold 68 wedding dresses and 250 formals for proms, galas, weddings and special occasions. The unpurchased dresses are then donated again to area non-profits providing additional women the opportunity to have a new dress.

Marketing Director Steph Dorland with Max I. Walker coordinates all aspects of the Ultra Chic Boutique. Dozens of volunteers assist her with the event logistics creating a pop-up boutique at the Thulshen Campus Events Center at University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Temporary dressing rooms are assembled with black pipe and drape dividing the shopping floor from the fitting rooms.  Volunteers’ sign-up for shifts helping work on the sales floor, assisting with fitting rooms, greeting shoppers at the registration, and purchasing tables.    One of the volunteer group this year included the Sigma Kappa Sorority.  Their philanthropic project is the Alzheimer’s Association and they contributed 64 volunteer hours during the setup, sale and clean up over three days.

Donated wedding dresses are hung in the Bridal section.

The dress shoppers include locals along with residents from South Dakota and Iowa.  Women had over 2,000 dresses to admire and shop during the sale.  Multiple Mother-daughter duos arrived looking for prom dresses or wedding dresses together.  Lily from Omaha was a proxy bride who selected her sister’s wedding dress using Facetime. The bride-to-be was ill and unable to attend.  Lily, being her sister’s exact size filled in dress shopping along with the mother-of-the-bride for selecting the dress.

Multiple non-shoppers arrived in support of the quest for just the right dress.  Chloe from Papillon bought her prom dress in 2015 from the Ultra Chic Boutique.  She knew instantly where to shop for her wedding dress. Another bride named De found her dress for her upcoming April wedding in Las Vegas.  She had happy tears and was overwhelmed with joy.  Allie from Fremont found her Disney Princess wedding dress.  She picked out five to try on. Her friend all agreed the first one was “it”.

Mother-of-the-bride and Mother-of-the-groom dresses were also popular selections.  Bride-to-be Lisa helped her mother Jane select a dress for her upcoming fall wedding.  They chose an autumn color with lace.

The Mom Prom attendees turned out shoppers Priscilla from Ashland and Bernadette from Bellevue for their March 23rd event.   Brooke from Council Bluffs, Iowa found her gown to accompany a cadet to the ROTC ball. The lime green dress headed home to Glenwood, Iowa with Lily. The frilly short dress with a long train during setup was admired often by volunteers.  “Who will choose this dress?” was the question of the weekend.  A high schools student from Glenwood was the answer.  Lily also selected a floor length baby blue with floral pattern too.

The 2025 dates are set for February 1st and 2nd.  Pre-registration is required for all shoppers with a designated time slot. Details are available at www.maxiwalker.com to sign-up for email alerts and learn more.

Written by Gretchen Kirchmann