Monday, February 19, 2007

Support Your Local Dance Store

One of my favorite things about this job is fitting a little girl for their first pair of ballet or tap shoes. The wonderment and excitement in their eyes is priceless and washes away all the problems in my day-to-day business regiment.

Now this either sounds crazy from the "Pointe of View" of someone who owns an online/mail order dancewear business or borderline begging from someone who owns several local dance stores. As someone who has been in the dancewear business for 25 years and owns both, I'm not really sure if it's either. I'll explain further and let you decide.

Here is why I think, as a dance teacher, dance studio owner, dedicated dancer, a dance mom, or just a fan of dance who wants to insure that dance is here to stay, that you must shop and support your local dance store wherever you live. Now mind you, if you don't live within, say 30 miles of a decent dancewear store, by all means shop online (preferably at ). Most metropolitan areas over 200,000 in population have at least one dancewear store. Most local dancewear stores are family-owned by someone within your dance community. This business owner provides a valuable service to the dance community by having a place to view, try on, special order, provide expertise and advice on all the basics and latest trends in dancewear. In addition, they are likely employing local dancers, dance teachers and dance moms. Much as we all might dream, not everyone is going to making a living solely as a professional dancer (especially if you are not in a major metropolitan area...even there the premium dance jobs are rare).

Let's look at it from an economic standpoint. These local store owners are not only providing jobs, but they are also providing state, local, and sales tax revenue for your area. They also spend what they earn in your community so it comes back to you. Dance store owners eat out, buy clothing, food, cars, homes and every other product just like you. They bank locally, use local lawyers, see local doctors, go to the movies, bowling alleys, local dry cleaners and send their kids to local dance studios! Do you see what I'm getting at? Somehow or another whatever business you're in, they are probably supporting it, so it's only fair that you return the favor. Don't get me wrong, the internet is great for some things but not trying on dance shoes, leotards and tights. Not to mention the social aspect of shopping. Getting out of the house with or without the kids. Seeing and interacting with other people is good for you. Besides bolstering the ecomony, shopping was recently listed as one of the top 10 activities to help keep the mind sharp as we age. Have you heard of Urban Blight? It can affect retail areas too. If everyone shops online for everything, eventually our malls, shopping centers and cities will look like ghost towns.

OK. If I haven't convinced you yet, it can only be one of two things. #1 Convenience. Yes, it is convenient to shop at home in your pajamas. It can also be a little scary and maybe a little too easy. So you get online and navigate a website or two to find what you think you want, splash your credit card into cyberspace, oops you got kicked offline, get back on, see if the sale went through, it didn't, now you buy a few things and then wonder when they'll arrive and if that style and color will actually look good on you when you get it and if you got the right size then it arrives and now you have to go to the post office to send the wrong things back and pay for return shipping and wait a few more days for the right item to arrive, only to find out that your teacher has changed their mind and now wants tan jazz shoes instead of black and yah you're right...that was convenient! Or you could just shop local and walk out with exactly what you want at a fair price and with a great customer service experience.

or #2 "The Almighty Dollar!" You have to save money, right? We won't even count the facts stated above about how if you shop local, the money you spend stays in your community. How much do you really save? An item that costs $20 in a local dancewear store is usually featured online or in a catalog for about $15 + $6 to $8 for shipping, net savings = -$1-3. You lost money! Oh but you buy a lot at one time and never make mistakes and know exactly what you want. You are one of the lucky ones for now. I'm sure when you're in a pinch you'll run into your local store and grab a pair of tights that you need for that night.
One more brief point on why especially local dance studios, high school dance teams and theatre groups should be patronizing and promoting their local dance store, as opposed to the catalog and online businesses. When you have a production upcoming who do you approach for advertising in your program, displaying a poster or asking to purchase tickets? When you are planning a fundraiser, who do you ask for a donation, ad or gift certificate? The local dance store is one of your first thoughts, right? Maybe the same local dance store you just bypassed to save a couple bucks by ordering online. Does that seem fair? The door swings both ways. Business ethics and basic right and wrong should play in your decisions as well.

Here is the sad truth. If you don't shop at your local dancewear stores, within one to two generations, there will be no more local dancewear stores. Then when you want to take your daughter or granddaughter for their first pair of ballet or tap shoes, you will have nowhere to go. And you will be cheating both of you out of a magical experience.


Blogger Unknown said...

I couldn't agree more!! I am opening a dancewear store in Michigan in 8 days, and after working for another dancewear store for 8 years, I experienced the things you were talking about daily. Thank you for putting the message out there!!


1:26 PM  
Blogger mmmbrown625 said...

While I agree with your post wholeheartedly - I think you should support your local dance stores - I felt compelled to post a comment on behalf of us harried dance moms who may not find the store hours always convenient. I cannot tell you how many times I have stopped by a dance store at a reasonable hour (like, say, 11:00 am) to find that the store is closed and the posted hours being 11:30 am to 7:00 pm. Or different hours for different days of the week. In the afternoon and evenings, I am picking kids up from school, transporting them to *dance* or soccer, or preparing supper, or working on homework - I can't always remember what day of the week it is and whether or not the dance store may be open at that time. So keep us moms in mind when setting store hours . . . we would like to support you, it just may not always be convenient to do so.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People should read this.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous グリー said...


10:30 AM  
Anonymous ログとも said...


6:02 PM  
Anonymous 直アド掲示板 said...


4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to support my local dance store, however it does not support me. I have a male dancer. They do not carry youth size dance belts, only one brand of boys tights and they do not restock after nutcracker season for male apparel. I would love to shop local but they have to want to accommodate my needs too.

8:33 AM  

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