Huntington Entrepreneur Follows Steps to Successful Business
Bridget Rowsey, owner of Bridget’s Dance Academy in Huntington, was named the state’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the West Virginia Small Business Administration at a ceremony in Morgantown.
As someone who found dancing easy, Bridget Rowsey hoped the steps to establishing her own business might be the same.
Rowsey, owner of Bridget’s Dance Academy in Huntington and the 2014 winner of the West Virginia Small Business Administration’s award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, said starting her own business was anything but simple; it was sometimes scary.
“It’s definitely a challenge because you know my first love is teaching and choreographing, but to have the building we have and to continue to see the growth, it does take that other side of it, the day-to-day business, so it’s a challenge to focus on both and figure that out,” Rowsey said.
Rowsey was born and raised in Huntington and enjoyed dancing from an early age. She enjoyed dancing through high school and into college where she majored in business at Marshall University. While in college she was a member of the Marshall University dance team and now serves as their coach. All the while her passion for dancing did not subside and while dancing on the Marshall Dance team she started teaching girls in the area. Rowsey said it’s been a rewarding process to establish her very own business.
“It has been fast, but at the same time we didn’t start out in this big location, we started small and grew that and now we’ve moved to this location and grown here. So I think the fact that I’ve kind of allowed the growth to happen steadily, made a huge difference,” Rowsey said.
Bridget’s Dance Academy first opened in 2010 at 8th ave and 1st street in Huntington. Then in September of 2013 they moved 9 blocks down 8th ave to 10th street into an old Blockbuster Rental building that tripled the amount of space available to the academy. What began as an after-school program for Rowsey has bloomed into an academy with over 200 students taking classes at the new location. Rowsey has increased the number of classes offered and has 10 different instructors that teach classes at the facility. Rowsey said being in charge of a business is completely different from just teaching classes.
“Owning a business, you don’t turn it off, so you don’t go home and think well work is over, it really never is over, but it helps that I love what I do,” Rowsey said.
Classes for all ages range from jazz, hip-hop or ballet to the recently popular acro which combines classical dance techniques with acrobatic elements. Heather Blankenship’s daughter Molly has been taking classes with Rowsey since she was three. She’s now six.
“We love the spiritual atmosphere most of all, just the positive never stress, never “don’t do that, do this, it’s always beautiful, yay awesome job.” It’s always positive, that’s what we love about it,” Blankenship said.
Eleven-year-old Brayden Bailey is also a member of the academy.
“What I like about this dance academy is that you’re free to do whatever you want, but you still learn stuff,” Bailey said.
The 27-year-old Rowsey says without her business degree from Marshall she would have been even further behind than she sometimes already felt.
“It definitely doesn’t teach you everything as far as day-to-day business ins and outs, it’s definitely been a learning fear years and I’ve grown a whole lot and I think the biggest thing has been not being afraid to ask people for help and I’ve done that,” Rowsey said.
Rowsey said the next will be to keep following the dance steps for continued growth.