WEST LAYFAYETTE — She walked a road she couldn’t foresee. But ended up in a very satisfying place.
“Growing up,” Carly Burdette-Goch began, “I was very involved in the 4-H program and loved animals. So initially I wanted to pursue a career involving animals.
“I had planned to go to college,” she continued, “but my grandfather became terminally ill and I chose to stay home to help take care of him. After her death, my grandmother fell ill and I took care of her full time until her death as well.
“I grew up living next door to my grandparents,” she noted, “and although it may seem like I dropped out of school, I wouldn’t change that for the world. I’m more than happy to be where I am today, even though that wasn’t the original plan.
Today, Burdette-Goch is director of Universe Bridal & Prom in West Lafayette, a store renowned as the largest prom and bridal show in Ohio and the surrounding area. It stocks thousands of prom dresses and wedding dresses in over 20,000 square feet.
“I never dreamed that I would be running a nationally known high-end formal boutique,” she said. “What’s crazy is that I’m by first name with fashion designers and reps from coast to coast while living in the small town of West Lafayette. I can choose the dresses we order from of each company, and it’s exciting to see customers trying them out and loving them.
Burdette-Goch grew up in the Isleta area of West Lafayette and graduated from Newcomerstown High School.
“I started at Universe Bridal & Prom in 2014 by mistake,” she recalls. “I was hired to help run a restaurant the McKennas were opening because that’s what I was currently doing at another company. There were a few hiccups with the opening and Teri, my boss, helped me out. said that the season was about to be busy at the clothing store and that I could work there in the meantime. I never left. I liked it. I loved the beautiful dresses, the colors, the fabrics, different styles.
Burdette-Goch became manager about two years ago.
“I’ve worked with Carly for the past few years and watched her grow into the talented store manager she is today,” said Jan Myers, COO of Junction Enterprises, which includes Universe Bridal and Prom. “Universe Bridal and Prom is an extremely large and busy store, and I really enjoy working with Carly and appreciate how she runs the store. I couldn’t do this without her and our amazing team.
“It can be a little stressful during the high season from January to May,” Burdette-Goch replied, “but it’s so rewarding. Most girls start shopping for prom at the beginning of the year. And the Most women get engaged over Christmas, New Years or Valentine’s Day and are happy to plan right away.
“Now, having 3- and 1-year-old daughters,” she concluded, “I have a whole new appreciation for being able to be part of those defining moments with girls and their families. Some girls I’ve helped from eighth grade and now I can help them choose a wedding dress. Although sometimes it makes me feel old, I can watch these girls grow. It may be bittersweet, but I love my job and the customers. And I love my team of colleagues who make it all possible.
Universe Bridal & Prom is located at 56310 US 36 in West Lafayette. For more information, call 740-545-5005 or log on to www.universebridalandprom.com.
About the series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series about people and their jobs – whether it’s unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at [email protected].