SAN ANTONIO – All around the shopping plaza in the 19200 block of Stone Oak are vacant businesses with only old company signage and chairs left inside. Most spaces in the plaza are up for lease and neighboring business owners like Laura Stiles fear they may be next due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stiles is the owner of the dance school All in One Productions. For months, the studio has been empty due to local and state restrictions.
“We got the keys (to the studio), and it was very exciting,” Stiles said. “We opened on February 8 and had a grand opening. Then, COVID-19 hit.”
The dance studio took a major economic hit as classes went virtual and attendance decreased dramatically.
“For some families, parents were laid off and they couldn’t afford those dance classes anymore, so, we weren’t charging them,” Stiles said. “Our business was actually shrinking. We went from about 40 students to about 20.”
Fear set in for the new small business owner as her applications for PPE and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan or EIDL were rejected.
“We were not in business in 2019 and you have to have a tax return for 2019 (to receive aid),” Stiles said. “That was really disheartening because I just wanted to keep my staff. I wanted to keep my kids.”
All in One Productions opened up again on Aug. 16. Stiles and her mother brainstormed on how to bring in more students and build revenue to the new dance school. Their strategies included a social media promotion, an incentive program for current students and their biggest project, a dance-a-thon.
The dance-a-thon will take place Saturday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community members have the option to sponsor a dancer of their choice, or donate directly to the dance school through their website.
The fundraiser will include dance numbers from the junior and senior teams including one that honors nurses on the frontlines of COVID-19.
“The meaning of the dance is that someone needs rescuing,” Jolen Lim said. Lim is a student on the senior team at All in One Productions. “The true meaning of our dance was (related to the) pandemic that someone needed help so, we rescue them until they’re on their feet again.”
The goal of the dance-a-thon is to raise $5,000 to keep the studio afloat at least until January 2021.
For more information on the event, you can visit the dance studio’s Facebook page by clicking here.