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A year of firsts

If you said to me, this time last year, that at the beginning of 2018, I along with my business partner would have built and opened a state-of-the-art dance studio in the centre of Southampton, I would have laughed and told you to pull the other leg.

But here we are.

We opened Studio17 in August after nearly four months of building work and we haven’t looked back.

To say it has been easy would be the biggest lie since we were told the earth was flat. 2017 has been a real challenge. To launch a new business venture amidst a backdrop of economic uncertainty is brave (some would say foolish) but to do it in addition to running your own business, which is completely different to a Studio, makes it even harder.

Nevertheless, we persevered and we are delighted with how it’s going. The inspiration for the Studio came when I saw some of the facilities that my daughter was rehearsing in. One particular dance session was in a dusty old gym. It was very poor and we could all see that it was impacting on the dancers. I spoke to my business partner Glenn, who I’ve known for many year and also has a daughter who loves to dance about the standard of the facility I saw and we decided to do some research into the amount of facilities available in Southampton. Conversations with various people involved in dance groups in the city showed an opinion that there was a lack of top notch facilities available at affordable rates.

So, in May we started construction and within nearly four months, we had our first booking.

The most surprising aspect of the project is how quickly the word has spread about the standard of our facilities. The feedback from users is fantastic and we are quickly becoming more than just a dance studio. We’ve had a variety of users from baby massage groups to adult yoga classes, which is so pleasing. We want Studio17 to be somewhere that the community can be proud of.

The Studio is still in its infancy however, and the challenge is now to grow and spread the word even further so many more groups – dance, fitness, baby classes, performing arts – from across the region can use the space.

We know it’s going to be a challenge but we are really excited to embrace that challenge. And this is where you come in. If you’re reading this and are impressed with the Studio and want to support local business, then share this blog or our website address or our Facebook page. We want our Studio to be available to all types or groups from Southampton and beyond. We will do our best to accommodate anyone.

Here’s to the next 12 months – who knows what it may bring – but I hope that I won’t be telling you to pull my other leg this time next year.

Paul McManus
Studio17