The Dance Shop in San Luis Obispo is closing its doors at the end of the month after 40 years unless someone buys the business. Owner Chris Hovis, 81, said she is retiring after working up to six days a week since opening the shop in August 1975.
While Hovis is looking forward to spending more time with her grandkids, she said she hopes the store is kept open so dancers won’t have to travel as far as Santa Maria to buy dancewear at a dance shop.
Hovis, who rents the building at 1019 Morro St. in San Luis Obispo, did not disclose the amount she is asking for the business but said that new owners may either continue the lease or move to a new location. Hovis said she will only consider buyers with a dance background. She has one part-time employee.
Business at the shop has been consistent year over year, said Hovis, surviving two recessions and some shoppers turning increasingly to the internet to buy dancewear.
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Hovis said she still frequently fits pointe shoes — which can be difficult to order correctly online — utilizing the skills she’s honed over decades of selling ballet shoes.
Summer typically is a slow season, with business picking up again when children return to school and dance classes. The holidays are busy because of Christmas shows. May and June also are peak times because of annual dance performances.
Hovis said she will try to sell most of the inventory and has been running a closing sale since the beginning of the month with discounts increasing each week. Any remaining stock will be passed along to a future owner should the business be sold, she said.
The children are Hovis’ favorite part of owning the store — she now has up to three generations of children who have bought dance supplies from her, she said.
“I love people. I’ve met so many interesting people (through the shop). I’m very nosy – I talk to tourists. The interaction with people keeps me young,” Hovis said.
Hovis said she’s grateful for the studios and customers who have been so loyal over the decades, but noted that she hasn’t had a vacation in years. Although she once envisioned herself sitting on a stool fitting pointe shoes until she toppled over, it’s time for her to move on.
“I’m looking forward to retirement and having someone else take over the store. I love the store, and it was worth it.”