CAMANCHE — Karlee Low has always had great pride for the city of Camanche and now she and her daughter, Charlotte Courtney, are doing what they can to build that pride even more.
In late January and early February, Low and Courtney began having discussions on what it would take to start a business in Camanche and how it would be received by the community.
“We would go out jogging and just started talking about what it would take to start a business,” Low said. “Everything just kind of went from there.”
As their business plans grew, it became clear to the mother, daughter team that the best option to serve the community in a way that no other business could, was to open a dance studio right in the heart of the town.
“There are 4,200 people in Camanche and if they want to take a dance class, they have to either go to Clinton or DeWitt to do so,” Courtney said. “We decided to open a convenient spot right here in our community.”
Thus the Camanche Dance Studio and Wellness Center was born.
The two driving factors for the women to open the new studio were the desire to have a local facility for young children to develop, and the need to build the locally-owned businesses foundation in the city.
“When I was a kid we had all kinds of things in Camanche and now that is slowly starting to go away,” Low said. “Now, I look at our town and what we had and I think people need to take a chance to open their own business.”
Low and Courtney have taken the first step toward that and began leasing the former Movie Gallery building at 1546 Washington Blvd. at the end of July.
Since then, the two have worked diligently, with the help of family and friends, to create a space that is suitable for a dance studio.
“Our family has been amazing,” Low said. “They’ve been so wiling to help out every step of the way.”
To celebrate the hard work, Courtney and Low have put into creating their new dance studio and wellness center, they will host a grand opening party today that will include an opportunity for people to sign up for classes and meet the dance and fitness instructors.
“Neither of us have much experience in teaching dance but we have hired a few really great teachers,” Courtney said.
Although she is not qualified to teach dance classes, Courtney is a licensed Zumba instructor and will provide afternoon classes to anyone who would like to join.
Low, like Courtney, has no formal dance training but has taught baton classes for several years and will bring that experience with her to the new studio.
Other classes that will be offered at the Camanche Dance Studio and Wellness Center include tap dance, boot camp training, tumbling and running club.
One unique aspect of the studio is that all the instructors are graduates of Camanche High School and many still live in the area.
“The easiest part was finding people to hire because we had the connections already,” Low said. “The hard part is getting the word out.”
The grand opening celebration is the first step for Low and Courtney, but certainly not the last.
The two plan on having annual recitals to showcase the local talent and hope that they will help build support from the community and help their business grow.
“So far it’s been a lot of fun,” Courtney said. “We’re going to find out what works and what doesn’t work but hopefully we can become and integral part of the community.”