The answers to these questions were provided by Kathaleen Rooney-Gray, the owner of , which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
With the business' 15th anniversary approaching, what has been the key to your longterm success in Wilmington?
I attribute the success of my business to my love of dance, my commitment to my students to ensure they are both learning and enjoying the program, and parents encouraging and supporting their child's' desire to dance. Owning a dance studio has been a lifelong dream for me. I continuously seek talented instructors and hold them to a standard which primarily concerns the wellbeing of my students and their families' satisfaction. When you are doing something you genuinely enjoy, it comes naturally and brings you a lot of satisfaction. When starting The Dance Company, I had the support of my parents, husband, family and friends who encouraged me to pursue that dream. Their help along the way provided me with a great foundation of support. Such a large undertaking would have been difficult without them.
Why do you believe teaching dance is an important thing for young Wilmington residents, and what lessons does it teach?
Absolutely I believe dance is important for the young. Dance lessons can teach children self confidence, self discipline, poise and grace. A child introduced to dance at an early age will likely develop a love of the arts and a passion for rhythm and movement. Most importantly, dancing is lots of fun!
What is the best part about what The Dance Company does?
Myself and the other instructors love what we do and have a passion for dance and our students. We love to see the students happy, learning and having fun. We truly take pleasure in watching the students grow as dancers and into young adults, that motivates us as instructors and the studio to be the best it can be.
What is the biggest challenge of owning a small business?
The biggest challenge of owning a business is in the management not only of staff, but the daily business tasks such as scheduling classes, marketing, maintaining a website, account management, etc. I have learned to delegate and hire the best people to help me with these tasks. Juggling a family and a business has been a challenge, but I have learned being extremely organized is essential and having a helpful husband and family are key. I make my family my priority and somehow everything seems to fall into place!
Why is Wilmington a good place to own a business?
Having grown up in Wilmington myself, I am partial to the community in general. The young families in town are genuinely involved in their children's activities and seem to participate at a high level. I see that not only in my business, but with their children's sports activities, community events and benefits. People who have good experiences share that with others. My business has benefited from students and parents who share the positive experience they have here at The Dance Company. I am also able to enjoy seeing lifelong friends I've had since attending school in Wilmington bring their little ones in to learn to dance and we reconnect