The Dance Locker
53 Great Norwood Street, Cheltenham, GL50 2BQ. crack
The huge popularity of dance on TV at the moment, from Strictly Come Dancing to Pineapple Dance Studios, X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, has been getting the general public enthused and ready to strut their stuff – with Gloucestershire’s only dedicated dancewear shop, The Dance Locker, reaping the rewards.
The Dance Locker, on Great Norwood Street in Cheltenham, first opened its doors just two years ago but is now attracting customers from far and wide and is a true success story with some of their Bleyer shoes even being worn by Ola Jordan on the last Strictly final after a recommendation from Ryan and Jenny, Lindy Hop champions.
The business was launched by two Cheltenham families, Fiona and Graham Maycock and Debbie Day and her husband John. Graham, who manages the business said: “We all met 13 years ago at St Paul’s maternity hospital when our sons were born and we’ve been close friends ever since.
“Debbie’s daughters have always been into dance and she talked about setting up a dance shop as she was frustrated at trying to find good quality, affordable dancewear and asked if we wanted to join the venture.”
“Dance on TV has made dancewear big business and, with people realising that it’s a fun way to keep fit, it’s expanding all the time.”
They bought the premises on Great Norwood Street and spent 9 months totally revamping the rundown building, creating a welcoming, light, airy, ‘Covent Garden’ style atmosphere with a dedicated area for pointe shoe fittings complete with ballet barre and changing rooms.
Fiona and Debbie run the shop 3 days a week each which fits perfectly around their family lives, and they also travel the country a couple of weekends a month attending events and shows where they also sell their goods.
Graham said: “We are so lucky that the business is growing month on month but we have worked hard for it. 50% of our business is from the shop with the other 50% coming from sales though our secure website which is a growing market.”
The Dance Locker prides itself on offering ‘internet’ prices in the shop, making dance more affordable for all. And they stock clothing and footwear for all types of dance from ballet to contemporary; street;
jive; swing; ballroom; salsa; latin and, the latest craze – Zumba!
One relatively new range is Freddy – the Italian company behind the Fame clothing from the film and now worn by dancers everywhere. Flavia and Vincent can always be seen sporting the Freddy logoed outfits during Strictly rehearsals.
Other top name dance labels available include Bloch; Capezio; Papillon; Mirella; Frontline; Aris Allen; Bleyer; Rummos; Heart & Soul and Tappers & Pointers.
Both Fiona and Debbie are fully-trained Bloch and Grishko pointe shoe fitters, a process that can take anything from 15 minutes to over an hour as they need to look and feel just right. Appointments aren’t necessary but can be helpful to save a long wait.
They stock all the regulation ISTD and RAD uniforms and are the preferred supplier for many local and national dance schools. But they also sell funky dance/gym gear such as Pineapple sneakers, and a wide range of stylish bags to carry it all around in!
Graham said: “We are already busy and fully-stocked up for the Christmas season and the bags, and gift vouchers, are most popular as gifts this time of year. We welcome anyone to call in and have a look round, and no pressure to buy!”
Graham, who has a background in IT, has his finger on the pulse when it comes to developing the business. He says: “These days social media is hugely important so we are on Twitter and Facebook and it all helps to spread the word. For example, a man asked his friends on Twitter where to get dance belts and I was able to Tweet back and tell him that we sell them. He placed an order online the next day!”
They also have a database of more than 5,000 names so customers can be kept up to date with new or changing stock and special offers.
The business prides itself on moving with the times and offering a ‘modern’ approach which is obviously hitting all the rights notes with its customers. Due to recommendations dancers are travelling from Birmingham, Bristol, Swindon, Worcester, Oxford, Reading and from all over Gloucestershire to the shop.
Call in to The Dance Locker at 53 Great Norwood Street and check out the range for yourselves, or buy direct at the best prices around at www.thedancelocker.com. You can also sign up for their newsletter via the website, don’t miss out.
A warm welcome and a professional, personal service is always guaranteed!