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White Plains Shops Optimistic About Gay Marriage

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Gary Lucas, who will be taking over Pretty Petals Plus on Mamaroneck Avenue on Wednesday, said the legalization of gay marriage this Sunday can only translate into more profit for local shops.

“It can’t hurt. The more people getting married the better. I don’t care who it is - gay, straight - doesn’t matter to me," said Lucas, a southern Westchester resident who plans to “gut” and remodel the flower shop.

Lucas said Pretty Petals Plus handles about 15 to 20 weddings a year and will likely have a few gay clients in the coming months. He intends to alter business forms that now have a place for a bride’s and groom’s signature into something more appropriate for same sex couples.

When the New York State same-sex marriage law went into effect on Sunday, gay couples waiting to get married were not the only ones excited. White Plains florists, caterers and bridal shop owners said they expect an increase in customers with the legalization of gay marriage.

Susan Gambelli said she was optimistic that she would be designing more cakes as the spring wedding season creeps closer.

“The summertime is a little slower for us. I’m anticipating an increase for sure, but I don’t necessarily think it’s going to change the style of wedding cakes. I think most people will still have the classic lines,” said Gambelli, an Ossining resident who has run her Susan Gambelli Custom Cakes out of a White Plains kitchen since 2005.

Gambelli, who participated in the Food Network’s 2007 princess cake challenge, said about 40 percent of her cake orders come from weddings.

David Juhren who is the Executive Director at the LOFT , a White Plains-based community services center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals in the lower Hudson valley, said there are a lot of same-sex couples waiting to get marriage and it could be very prosperous for New York.

“First of all they will bring in, it’s estimated, about a little under $400 million dollars [for the state of New York],” Juhren said.

Such a potentially large impact on local businesses has been one of the driving incentives for passing the law, Juhren said.

“That’s been one of our arguments for years to is the amount of revenue that would be generated by marriage equality,” he said.

Citing a 2007 report from former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, an article in The New York Daily News said approximately 56,000 couples would wed in New York if the same-sex marriage bill were to be passed.

Do you know a gay couple from Westchester planning a wedding? Will they be using local businesses for the big night? Email responses to strangle@thedailywhiteplains.com and we'll include them in future coverage.

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