Growing Through Arts® Retailer: Kim-Lee Dance and Gym Wear
At only 26 years old, Sierra Krohn, owner of Kim-Lee Dance and Gym Wear in Fort Worth, TX, is wise beyond her years.
Krohn knows that in order to thrive as a dancewear retailer, she has to keep existing customers happy and push the business into the future.
Kim-Lee Dance and Gym Wear first opened in 1979. Krohn began working at the store when she was in college, and after graduating and dancing professionally and teaching for a year, she returned home to Fort Worth and bought the business from the original owner in July 2011.
Since then, Krohn has tried to maintain the store’s commitment to quality by selling only top-of-the-line brands, while also expanding the store’s offerings by bringing in new products.
One of the new products Krohn has introduced is the Ballet Series storybooks from Growing Through Arts®.
“I really like these books,” Krohn says. “I know how important it is for a child to pick up a book and actively use it to engage their minds.”
In addition to owning the store, Krohn also teaches ballet and jazz at a Russian dance school part time, and she says she appreciates Aleksandra Efimova’s Russian heritage and the attention to detail in each of the Ballet Series storybooks.
Krohn even reads the books to her ballet class of 3-to-4 year olds.
“Being a dance teacher… it’s really hard to explain, ‘We’re working on a dance for a recital.’ Well, what’s a recital?” she says, adding that the books’ vocabulary words help introduce children to important ballet concepts.
For example, when the local dance school was about to do the Nutcracker, Krohn read the students the Nutcracker Ballet by Aleksandra® to show them what it would be like to be an angel or a mouse in the production someday.
In the store, Krohn has the books displayed in the center of the room, low enough so children can have access to them. She hopes the books will be a big seller at recital time, when parents are looking for a gift for their hard-working dancer.
While customers seem to like the new books, Krohn says not all customers are open to change.
For example, much of the merchandise in the old store was traditional ― lots of leotards in black and pink ― and Krohn is making a concerted effort to brighten things up with more colorful leotards, bright hip-hop and dance sneakers, and new brands of shoes, including ballet slippers from Russian Pointe®.
She also moved the store to a new location and gave it a complete makeover, transforming it into a girly boutique with purple walls, big chandeliers and pops of color throughout the store. And she started sending out weekly emails and quarterly newsletters and instituted a computerized cash register system, something customers have had to adjust to.
“I’m exposing them slowly to new changes,” she says. “I think they appreciate it.”