We’re pleased to welcome Avalon Dance Shop, one of Greater Vancouver’s best loved suppliers of ballroom dance shoes and supplies, to Delta.
The popular dance supply store is an icon in our local dance community. Operated by Renate Meinicke (wearing the yellow top in the feature image above), with support from her daughter Patricia, the store has been around for a remarkable 27 years.
Renate has supported the dance community with her presence at competitions as a vendor and through sponsorship of trophies. She has a heart of gold and works hard to provide great customer service and high quality products. Delta Dance has benefitted from her support of trophies and as a vendor at Delta Cup.
Avalon Dance Shop has been serving the Greater Vancouver dance community for a remarkable 27 years
Although Avalon actually originated in the USA, Renate’s Canadian Avalon Dance Shop first opened in 1990 on 6th Avenue in New Westminster. A few years later, a second location was opened on Main Street in Vancouver. Renate ran both stores for a while but it proved to be costly and time consuming to have two stores so she closed the New West location and focused her attention on the Vancouver store. Then five years ago a better location was found just two blocks further down Main so the store moved again. But today, with Vancouver retail rental rates climbing into the stratosphere, it was necessary to move to a more affordable location. Renate was fortunate to find a good location on Scott Road in the same North Delta plaza as the Great Canadian Superstore. Customers enjoy lots of free parking, and easy access to a number of other businesses including the One20 Pub and Grill just a few doors away.
The Avalon Story
Avalon’s story actually begins in Seattle. The Avalon Ballroom was one of Seattle’s most popular dance studios during the 1930’s. At one point the ballroom underwent a significant renovation. To keep the newly updated facility fresh and untarnished, the ballroom now required all patrons to wear genuine dance shoes. Ballroom dance shoes can’t be worn outdoors as they have a soft suede leather on the bottom of the sole to move smoothly on the floor.
Now that dance shoes were required, demand for shoes went crazy but there were few places in the area where you could buy dance shoes. Renate’s sister Waltraud Stanzl partnered with Jose Belgado to open a shoe supply store in the Avalon Ballroom. The store was named the Avalon Dance Shop and thus began the legend. There was no online shopping in those days and no dance stores in Canada so Canadian customers would come to Seattle to shop at the Avalon Dance Shop. The store specialized in high quality European shoes. The German shoe company Diamant became a major supplier and continues a great relationship with Avalon to this day.
Wide range of products
Avalon sells ballroom dance shoes as well as ballet slippers, pointe shoes, and shoes for tap, lyrical, jazz, flamenco. Renate even supplies character shoes! She’s an expert at fitting shoes and won’t sell you shoes that don’t fit right. But she’ll go out of her way to try and find you the perfect fit if she doesn’t have it in stock. She can fit very small and very large sizes which is something you won’t find elsewhere. Avalon can even get shoes custom-made for special sizing needs.
Avalon can even get shoes custom-made for special sizing needs
Online shopping has become commonplace. Naturally this has impacted Renate’s business. At first it was challenging as people would pretend to come in looking for shoes with the real intention of just finding out a size and then going off to order them online. So Renate has responded with a special service in which she will help you find the perfect fit for a small fee. “Online shopping has grown, but you don’t really know what you get when you shop online, and just try getting something exchanged!” says Renate when asked about the impact of technology on her business. “You don’t get personalized customer service online, and even the fit can be dramatically different than what is indicated on the website, depending on where the products are made.”
Avalon Dance shop has expanded beyond shoes, although shoes are a major part of the business. Renate carries costumes and practice wear, a selection of items for figure skating, some ballet and belly dancing supplies, dance music and a wide variety of accessories.
Renate is also concerned about the loss of interest in quality. “European standards are much higher than our standards in general,” she says. “People there are more concerned with quality construction and craftsmanship. They also desire classy elegance and genuine style. It’s sometimes challenging here because people aren’t aware in the same way of these things, often seeking out the cheapest products instead of understanding the value of quality.”
Stop by and say Hello to Renate. Her new location is a quick half hour drive from Vancouver during off-peak hours and weekends. The store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, closed Sundays and Mondays.
Avalon Dance Shop
#120, 8047 – 120th Street
Delta, British Columbia, BC V4C 6P7
Phone (604) 874-2461