July 31, 2013
Russian Pointe® Retailer: LaBrie Dance
The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least that’s true at LaBrie Dance in Smithfield, RI.
The store’s origins date back to 1947 when Bob LaBrie opened a specialty children’s shoe store in Greenville, RI. Over time, the store expanded to carry both children’s and adult’s shoes, until one day, the owner of a nearby dance school asked him if he could carry a basic ballet slipper, a basic tap shoe and a basic leotard.
He did, and soon, the dancewear items in the store began eclipsing the store’s other merchandise. By 2002, LaBrie Dance had phased out its regular shoes to sell dancewear exclusively – and by doing so, brought the store back to its original mission of being a specialty store.
Today, LaBrie is known for having one of the largest selections of dancewear products in New England, and they are a proud retailer of Russian Pointe® shoes.
“We love Russian Pointe®,” says Stephanie DeQuattro, manager of LaBrie Dance. “Just the quality of the shoes and how they’re made.”
DeQuattro says their most popular Russian Pointe® model is the Rubin with a drawstring, although they also carry the Entradas, Muse, Sapfirs and split-sole canvass shoes.
DeQuattro says she likes the wide range of shank, vamp and width options available on each of the Russian Pointe® models. “It’s nice to have the variety like that in one brand,” she says. “I would say just about everybody I fit in pointe shoes, I bring out at least one style of Russian Pointe® for them to try.”
As a professional dancer with the Providence Ballet Theater, DeQuattro also appreciates the classic aesthetic of the Russian Pointe® shoes. “There’s something about the Russian Pointe®s that looks so sleek and light,” she says. “They are gorgeous-looking shoes, just sitting on the shelf. They’re just beautiful.”
In the 14 years DeQuattro has been working at LaBrie Dance, she says the local dance community has exploded, and even with the recession in 2008, DeQuattro says the increased interest in dance has been good for business.
In the past few years, the LaBrie family has opened two other locations – Dancer’s Warehouse in Milford, MA, and Dancer’s Warehouse in Wellesly, MA – and developed the popular online retailer site, Dancerswearhouse.com.
DeQuattro says the secret to the LaBrie family’s success has been excellent customer service, professional pointe shoe fittings, and recognizing that they needed to carry merchandise that you can’t find at big-box, chain retailers like Target, Kohl’s and Sam’s Footwear.
“It’s nice to be a specialty store like this,” DeQuattro says.