For decades, the Tombrella family has played an integral part of the Woodlawn community. Since their arrival in the 80s, their businesses along First Avenue North have become familiar landmarks, including the Imperial Dry Cleaners, chiropractic clinic, laundromat, and even a charming bridal boutique, Imperial Formal Wear. This family has been committed to helping Woodlawn grow and continues to support their neighborhood to this day.
Kristina Tombrella-Bunn, the daughter of Ronnie Tombrella, grew up in Woodlawn helping her family in the laundry business. As she cared for clothes, Kristina fell in love with fabrics and fashion. However, it wasn’t until she graduated from Birmingham Southern College that realized she wanted a career that created a happy experience for families to enjoy. She witnessed Woodlawn’s growth through those years and knew her next move was alongside her family.
Although an initial endeavor with a tux rental shop fell short, Kristina soon realized her passion for wedding dresses. In 2012, Kristina and her family opened up Imperial Formal Wear right next to her parents’ laundry businesses. It’s been over 10 years now since she started serving the Birmingham community and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon!
“I get to be a part of people’s love stories and build personal connections with people from all around the community,” said Kristina.
In 2021, Imperial Formal Wear outgrew its small corner shop and built out the next-door space. The location of the shop can’t be beaten. With only a 20-minute commute to Trussville or Vestavia, they get people from all around the Birmingham Metro area. Even their own neighbors come for tux rentals for the Woodlawn High School prom.
“I am happy here, and plan to stay in Woodlawn,” Kristina stated.
Imperial Formal Wear caters to diverse individuals and occasions. Within the boutique, you can find an array of styles, from boho to modern wedding dress designs. And with the expertise of two full-time consultants, Taylor and Sydney, customers can rest assured that they will find what they are looking for at Imperial.
This local store is the meaning behind generationally owned businesses. Kristina’s husband now runs his own chiropractic business just a few doors down from her boutique. It’s clear to see that this family business is far more than meets the eye, serving as a testament to their enduring legacy right here in Woodlawn.
By appointment only:
Address: 5416 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35215
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday
Facebook: Imperial Formal Wear