By Kevin Wilson: PNT Staff Writer
While they’ve found that building a business is rarely fun, Summer Wilson and Jennifer Spotswood of Portales believe that what their business teaches should be.
Wilson and Spotswood, former instructors through Eastern New Mexico University’s Office of Extended Learning, have taken their know-how and turned a Portales hallway into a business endeavor three nights a week called the Spotswood-Wilson School of Dance.
The school, located at the Portales Mall at 1500 S. Ave. D, teaches 11 classes for what is right now a student body of 70. The classes go as young as a ballet/tap class for 3-year-olds and and Wilson said three couples are currently taking the school’s ballroom dancing class.
The idea for the school culminated in early August. Wilson, thinking she would be moving to a different city, had resigned her position with Extended Learning. By the time she figured out she wouldn’t be moving after all, ENMU had filled her position.
“I figured I wasn’t leaving,” Wilson said, “so why not?”
Spotswood, who took classes from Wilson and taught alongside Wilson at ENMU, was also open to the idea.
“I’ve taught classes with Summer for three years,” Spotswood said. “I loved teaching with her and I loved working with the kids. The transition was not a big one.”
With very little startup money — Wilson said the two only borrowed small amounts from family members — the two got the necessary materials they needed and looked through as many local buildings as they could.
The two rent a room in the Portales Mall, which is mainly used as a parental observation room while the class is taught in the building’s hallway. The two also got the word out through friends and flyers and hired a lawyer and accountant to secure the business’ status as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
To help people make class reservations, Spotswood has used her home phone as the business line.
“It’s hard work starting a business,” Spotswood said, “but it makes everyhing worth it when you see the kids each week.”
Spotswood teaches six classes for ages nine and lower, while Wilson teaches the other five classes. Dances include ballet/tap, ballet, jazz, pointe and ballroom dancing. Each class is $30 per month, but discounts are given for multiple classes.
Wilson said the two do make a a profit, but that money has so far been put back into the business. Later on, Wilson said they hope to open up a ballet store because parents usually have to either go online or travel to Lubbock to find ballet clothes.
The school is no longer taking registrations for this semester, but the instructors hope to have next semester’s schedule ready by December with a cutoff date in February.