After being in the dance business for many years and having several dance studios and shops across Long Island, Marilyn Schmich, owner of the new Babylon Dance Shop, noticed something was missing from the dance community in Babylon Village.
There are not many stores that just sell dance apparel.
“What we realized was there is no separate shop in this area, several stores have closed and relocated, and there’s no central store for someone to come to,” she said.
She said many dance shops are affiliated with specific dance studios, and with several dance studios in Babylon Village, Schmich felt like there needed to be a hub where anyone can shop for dancewear.
She said she wants everyone to feel welcome to visit the Babylon Dance Shop.
“I needed to open a shop for anyone who thinks they just want to come in to look at dance clothes,” Schmich said. “This has no connection to a studio, this is just for dancers, run by dancers, and carrying dance clothes, and fitness-wear of course.”
Schmich said Babylon Dance Shop sells dance apparel for all ages, ranging from young adult wear to adult sizes.
“We are carrying items that we won’t be able to sell in our studio stores,” she said. “They are specific lines that are built and sold for dance studios, these particular lines are sold at higher-end dance shops in the city and they sell online with their own boutiques.”
Some of these lines Babylon Dance Shop offers include a brand from Canada and the NYC-based brand Elevé Dancewear. The store also carries various skirts, crop tops, and ballet shoe brands like legendary Capezio, as well as Russian pointe shoe lines.
And of course, Schmich said, a plethora of tutus are available for “the littles.”
“Everyone needs a tutu,” Schmich said.
Schmich said she runs the Babylon Dance Shop, located at 23 Deer Park Avenue, and she owns a dance business in West Islip. Over the years, she said she has run businesses in Rockville Center and Huntington.
She also owned a gymnastic school in Center Moriches with her husband, who is a gymnastics teacher.
“This is just an extension for the village, and I think it’s designed to carry merchandise that is appropriate for Babylon Village,” Schmich said.
“We have 12 ambassadors from across the island from different studios,” she said. “They wear our merchandise and are busy on social media helping us promote and model it for us.”
Babylon Dance Shop is open now, but has not had a grand opening celebration just yet.
As of right now, the owner said merchandise is slowly coming in and they have been gradually getting business rolling since their opening in March — 12 days before the pandemic hit Long Island.
“It gave us time to decorate,” Schmich joked.
The owner said the biggest challenge was getting the apparel and merchandise from international brands, but that has almost gotten back to normal.
“I feel like we’re back on track as far as deliveries are going,” she said. “I think we’re okay, it was definitely slow, but I didn’t notice because we had months, so if I got a delay, I was home.”
Schmich said her customers are “seasoned pros” by now when it comes to safe shopping protocols, and since the shop is small, they probably will only allow one or two customers at a time.
She said the overall feedback has been positive so far and a majority of Babylon Dance Shop’s customers come in for dance shoes.
“I think they love it,” Schmich said. “If they want something and they have the ability to try it on instead of online, especially fitting dance shoes — it’s really important to get a proper fitting — so I think they really appreciate that.”
Schmichused to have a business in Babylon Village, so she is familiar with the area and the location was ideal for her shop.
For the future, she hopes Babylon Dance Shop will be more involved with the village and host future events to inspire young dancers in the community.
“We had planned on doing fashion shows to include local dancers, we love promoting local girls going to college,” she said. “We have senior projects that go on, and part of the obligations for that is to mentor young ladies, almost like a ‘mommy and me approach when we do our photoshoots so we can show the size range.”
“We just want to provide the best and newest dancewear.”
Check out Babylon Dance Shop’s Facebook page for updates on their business and future events.