When Betsy Robinson started working for her husband’s family in Anne Arundel County, she was only 26 years old and already had a vision for the bridal gowns they sold monthly.
This vision would turn into her 40-year legacy of Betsy Robinson’s Bridal Collection.
Now the task of keeping the legacy alive goes to the Tarschises—Mallory, 25, and Torrey, 28—also at an early stage in their careers, who became the store’s new owners last July.
“Everything’s very different today—the way you promote a business and advertise it,” Robinson says. “I think it just needed some young blood.”
The Tarschises’ journey began in 2017, when Torrey moved to Baltimore. While Mallory was finishing her undergraduate program at the University of Cincinnati, he got plugged into Etz Chaim’s Jewish young professional group, J-Care.
“Continuing to have a strong sense of community and getting tapped into the Baltimore area was important to me,” says Torrey, who was involved in his Jewish community growing up.
It also gave him a chance to give back through the Jewish Caring Network.
When Mallory arrived in 2018, the couple settled in Hampden, where they discovered the joys of living in Baltimore. When it came time for planning their 2020 wedding, Mallory’s friends knew where to send her for a dress.
After several fittings, it was clear that Mallory and Robinson clicked. Indeed, the gears in Mallory’s brain were spinning —perhaps this job was right for her.
“I definitely was the bride who had been dreaming about her wedding since I was a little girl,” she says.
Her event planning internship in college made her realize late hours and weekends were not for her, but a bridal shop provided the ideal opportunity to find her niche in the wedding industry.
Robinson promised to keep in touch if a sales position opened. “I don’t even think it was 12 hours” after being furloughed from her sales job for a second time that Mallory got the call, she says.
From there, things happened quickly.
“On day one, I’m like, ‘So you think I could take a bride yet?’” Mallory jokingly asked Robinson.
With an eagerness to learn and a natural knack for helping women choose their wedding dress, it was only about two months later that she approached Robinson about ownership.
At first, Mallory thought, “Are you out of your mind?” when Torrey suggested asking.
But the request was not overreaching, Robinson says. She had discussed stepping back since taking on more responsibilities after her husband’s death in 2017. With no children of her own interested in taking the helm, Mallory’s request came at the perfect time.
“It’s a business that I’ve always found that when people come to work with you, if they’ve never done it, they either last two weeks or years,” she says. It was clear Mallory would be the latter.
Mallory says she learns something new every day from brides, employees and Robinson, who agreed to stay on the team for a year to help her with the transition.
“It’s been terrific,” Robinson says. “We work extremely well together.”
Torrey is present during weekends and works behind the scenes. Mallory manages the day-to-day responsibilities. Her vision for the shop includes maintaining the traditions everyone has come to know and love.
“I think there’s a reason that the store is so well known and so established within the community. Betsy did such a great job in creating such a legacy,” Mallory says. She only hopes to grow Robinson’s collection and keep updated with styles and trends.
Starting any new business comes with its challenges. Torrey says their mentors, including Robinson and Torrey’s father—who owned a business in Toledo, Ohio—have been invaluable.
Generational customers are happy Robinson will get to retire after years of hard work. They’ve been nothing but supportive, Mallory says.
Going forward, the couple is most excited about cultivating relationships in the Baltimore community.
At J-Care, Mallory and Torrey were both introduced to a large network of people who helped them navigate living in a new state. An educational excursion with the group to Israel helped strengthen their Jewish identities and solidify the direction they wanted to go.
Mallory remembers life lessons they learned from the trip—including one that could be applied to Mallory’s opportunity with Robinson after her furloughs. Even though something might seem bad, it actually can be a “hidden good.”
They will also gain strong relationships through the store by helping people with something so important to them, Torrey says.
“It gives us an opportunity to give back to the community,” he adds.
Upon retirement, Robinson plans to spend more time with family, travel, volunteer and who knows what else, she says.
“I’m very excited to be turning the business over to Mallory and Torrey, who I think will even take it further than I have taken it,” she says. “I couldn’t have handpicked a better couple.”