Located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Dance Workshop has spent 30 years helping people of all ages and backgrounds discover and nurture a love of dance. In addition to helping dancers build their skills, the business has always been dedicated to giving back. The organization’s charitable arm, Dancing for a Difference, has raised more than $170,000 over the years to donate to recipients like Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
After decades of running Dance Workshop, founder Shari Opfermann was ready to pass her beloved business off to a new owner. Megan Kamberis, who had been working as a dance instructor at the studio for over 15 years, took over just when the pandemic struck — and the studio found itself in transition in more ways than one. COVID-19 safety regulations forced it to shut down and find creative alternatives for bringing dance classes to its students.
After months of virtual recitals and Zoom classes with instructors tap-dancing in their kitchens, Dance Workshop was ready to get back to business, kickstart their outreach to the community, and hand over the reins to the new owner — but they couldn’t do it all on their own. An AlphaGraphics business makeover was able to help spin things around for the studio. Now, they’re ready to waltz into the next 30 years in style.
To get ready for its next phase and start attracting new students, Dance Workshop’s look needed a refresh. The studio’s interior decor featured outdated airbrushed graphics and little sense of a cohesive visual identity. Rather than one recognizable brand, the business had separate logos for each of its programs — Shining Stars (a performing dance company), Toddler Time (for children and parents), Princess Ballerinas (themed classes for preschoolers), Super Heroes (dancing lessons for boys), and fitness classes for adults.
Additionally, there was little to visually set the studio apart from its neighboring businesses. Sharing an interior shopping center space with insurance agents and medical offices, Dance Workshop wanted to differentiate itself and set the tone for a fun, welcoming experience. There was also a need to establish privacy for the dancers, as exterior windows opened right into the studio spaces.
Finally, the studio had never done much marketing, but all outreach efforts stalled during the challenges of COVID-19. After taking ownership of the business, Megan wanted to refresh the space visually, solidify the branding, and spread the word about all the great things that Dance Workshop does for its students and the community.
Impressed by Dance Workshop’s track record of charitable giving and inspired to help a new business owner get off to a great start, AlphaGraphics chose Dance Workshop as one of the three nationwide winners in the Make It Happen Business Makeover contest. To kick off the makeover, the team quickly got to work on plans to revitalize the business and strengthen its brand.
The first step was to create a consistent brand that could encompass every segment of Dance Workshop’s business. AlphaGraphics designers established a color palette and signature pattern that could be applied in a range of ways, while still looking distinctly like Dance Workshop. The new branding was vibrant, bright, and energetic — matching Megan’s energy and vision for the future of the business.
The next phase of the makeover focused on the interior decor. The team envisioned a cohesive visual experience that would flow from the studio’s entrance, through the coat room, and into each of the studios. With plenty of bright colors and visual appeal, the team designed the space to energize students and get them ready to dance. The lobby was updated with branded wall graphics, a digital sign to showcase class information and photos, and a backlit dimensional sign that dancers can use as a photo backdrop. Dancing for a Difference signage was also installed in the lobby, keeping the business’s charitable mission front and center.
The four studio rooms were repainted, with each one featuring a bold accent wall in a different color from the brand palette. Inspirational quotes were applied to the walls, contributing to Megan’s goal of making the space feel welcoming and fun — a true second home for the dancers and instructors.
The makeover also tackled the exterior of the studio. Opaque graphics were installed in the studio windows to add aesthetic appeal and provide privacy for the dancers in a fun and creative way. Wayfinding signage was created to help patrons locate the business within the shopping center. As an added bonus, the A-frame and feather flag signs are portable, so when dancers perform recitals at other venues, they can bring signage along with them and create a brand presence for Dance Workshop no matter where they are.
With the brand on pointe and the interior space fully refreshed, the only thing left to do was to create a marketing strategy and set Megan up with the tools she’d need to get the word out about the business. On the print marketing side, Megan received a refreshed suite of business cards, flyers, notepads, and stickers that she can easily hand out to prospective new students. Dancers in the Shining Stars performance company were given branded tank tops and water bottles, encouraging them to showcase the Dance Workshop brand outside of the studio. AlphaGraphics will also support the studio’s digital marketing efforts, partnering with Marketing 360® to update the website and optimize it for SEO, and launch a digital marketing campaign to increase the studio’s visibility online.
On May 24, 2022, Dance Workshop’s business makeover was revealed in style at an event attended by over 50 people. The Shining Stars marked the occasion with an impromptu dance performance, confetti flew, and guests eagerly flooded the studio’s rooms, taking in all the changes with open-mouthed joy.
While music bumped and dancers showed off their tricks, Megan had an emotional moment of reflection over the studio’s transformation. Having played a central creative role in the process of bringing the makeover to life, she could finally say that the business felt like her own.
“I can’t even begin to explain what an amazing experience this has been for me. The studio looks amazing and everyone is so excited about the reveal,” Megan said. “[AlphaGraphics] helped this vision come alive and I am forever grateful! I am proud to continue Dance Workshop’s journey in the beautiful space you helped create.”
And with the pandemic’s challenges in the past, a gorgeously updated space to work in, and a powerhouse marketing strategy leading the way to a bright future, everyone in the Dance Workshop community can agree that the studio is more than ready for its next act.
Could Your Business Use a Makeover?
Transitions of all kinds can be tough hurdles for businesses to overcome. Whether it’s changing ownership, relocating to a new space, or adapting operations to our changed post-COVID world, a business makeover can make a new start something worth celebrating. Contact your local AlphaGraphics center today to learn more about the possibilities a makeover could offer for your business!