Where Swans Go for Shoes
Perfectly postured, Aleksandra Efimova surveys her domain, a 2,100-sq-ft store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. Actually, it’s not right on Michigan Avenue—visitors have to take an elevator up one floor and walk down a hall to reach her ballet shop, called Russian Pointe [Dance Boutique]. “That is as it should be," says Efimova, 30, a former ballet dancer who moved to the U.S. from Russia in 1993. “We are a specialty store, a destination. The people who need to find us, do."
Efimova, who studied dance in St. Petersburg, opened Russian Pointe [Dance Boutique] in early 2006 after selling ballet shoes as a wholesaler, first in Ann Arbor, Mich., and in the Loop since 2005. ...she opened the retail suite to bring, in her words, “the love of dance, and beauty, to this magical city of Chicago." The store is lavishly decorated: thick cabernet-colored velvet curtains hang in the windows, and a row of old opera-house chairs runs along the middle of the store. A stage with a large mirror and barre make the store a favorite with little princesses who come for their first fitting. Local ballet schools Ruth Page and Boitsov ensure a steady stream of wannabe Giselles coming through the door. Sales rose from $7,065 in her first month as a retailer to $29,286 in October.
edited by Michael Arndt