November 20, 2013
Grand Opening at Neverland Emporium
When Maria Thorpe was researching which brand of pointe shoes she should carry in her new dancewear store, Neverland Emporium in Kaysville, UT, she didn’t have tough decision.
“When I went to your website and saw your videos, I knew Russian Pointe® was what I wanted,” Thorpe said, adding that she was immediately impressed by the quality of the shoes and the overall professionalism of the company.
She was so enthusiastic, in fact, that she made an initial order for five Russian Pointe® styles – the Rubin, Almaz, Lumina, Muse and Entrada Pro – as well as for the Russian Pointe® canvas slippers and the entire line of Growing Through Arts® books and toys.
Thorpe’s path to becoming a dance store owner began about a year ago when she was tired of trying to find dance shoes and clothes for her daughter. With no dancewear stores close by, Thorpe said she often resorted to buying things online, only to have to send the items back multiple times because they didn’t fit correctly.
After talking with her husband, Steve, who has years of experience in the franchise and retail industries, Thorpe decided to open her own store. She named it after Neverland from Peter Pan, and decorated the entire store to look as it were the Darling’s home in the book.
As someone with no dance or pointe shoe training, Thorpe was nervous about fitting pointe shoes. “Not being a dancer I really had no idea what a dancer was looking for,” she said.
So Thorpe was thrilled when Russian Pointe® team member Megan Bentz offered to fly out to Thorpe’s new store on Nov. 14 to train her and her staff and then stay for the store’s Grand Opening on Nov. 16.
“Megan was wonderful. She went into incredible detail on each style, how you have to take into account the vamp, the width and the shank,” she said.
After walking the staff members through the subtle differences between each Russian Pointe® model, Bentz had the staff practice fitting shoes on each other. Then they practiced fitting Thorpe’s two daughters — Mary, 12, a dancer, and Jenny, 13, a soccer player – which helped them get experience fitting someone who wasn’t familiar with pointe shoes.
Thorpe said the training boosted her confidence. “Based on the training Megan gave me, I feel like anybody who comes in, I can fit them,” she said. “I really felt like after I left I knew what I was doing.”
In addition to training Thorpe on how to fit pointe shoes, Bentz also showed her how to merchandise them. Instead of displaying the shoes in alphabetical order, Bentz suggested the shoes be lined up from narrowest to widest to give the customers a visual representation of the differences of each shoe.
During the Grand Opening, Thorpe’s husband stood with a sign in front of a local dance studio, while Thorpe and Bentz did pointe shoe fittings at the store. They provided snacks for new customers, and Bentz gave away Russian Pointe® posters as well.
“I think they’re going to be really successful,” Bentz said.