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