Business owner Vanda Coleman is dancing her way to a new location in downtown Oak Harbor.
Her store, Fantasia Boutique, moved to 665 Southeast Pioneer Way two weeks ago, and Coleman is excited to be there.
“At the old location, we were upstairs and it wasn’t working,” Coleman said. “We wanted to make sure everyone could reach us.”
The boutique supplies island residents with quality dance equipment, such as shoes, practice wear, performance outfits and more.
Coleman has owned the business for seven years with her husband, Lorenzo. They moved to the island 20 years ago from Naples, Italy with their two children. Their daughter, Evelyn, was actually the reason they decided to start the business.
“My daughter used to be in ballet, and we’d have to travel off the island for her dance shoes and outfits,” Coleman said.
Her daughter was in ballet for nine years, and Coleman knows what it’s like searching for items. She remembers driving to Lynwood to supply her daughter with proper equipment for her performances. Pointe shoes, the kind used in ballet, had to be replaced every three months because of wear and tear.
Traveling can get expensive, and providing an array of businesses on the island is a good thing for residents, Coleman said.
Evelyn’s last pair of worn-out pointe shoes hang in the store’s shoe section, and serve as a reminder of the reason why Coleman wanted to open the store.
In an effort to make sure their customers don’t need to leave the island to find certain products, Coleman works with dance studios in the area to make sure she carries shoes and clothing locals are looking for. She is also expanding the business to carry organic yoga clothing, as well as accessories.
Coleman picks the items she carries in her store by how expressive the pieces are. The outfits dancers wear need to complement the choreography and the music for the performance. Whether it is for ballroom dancing, salsa, jazz, or belly dancing, she wants to make sure she can accommodate everyone.
Even before the Colemans opened their store, dancing had always been a large part of their family life. Coleman and her husband are both ballroom dance, and she’s taken a few square dancing classes with her daughter for fun.
“It’s an expression of your body,” Coleman said. “Sometimes people can be conservative, but with the dance you can always express yourself.”