As a lifelong dancer and mother to a little ballerina, Elaine Mendonez found shopping for dancewear and supplies in her Bethpage hometown to be a bit challenging.
After years of traveling out of the way at a high price tag or shopping online with hefty shipping costs attached, Mendonez decided to cut out the middle man and open a store of her own. Bella Ballerina, named after Mendonez's dancing daughter, opened in early August at 3715 Hempstead Tpke. as a new division of Bella Gems, an event and bridal company.
"I found it inconvenient to go so far north or south just to get my own dance supplies," said Mendonez. "In most cases I'd be paying an astronomical price. Sometimes I could find things online for better prices but I'd have to wait for delivery and pay for shipping."
"I figured opening my own store would cut all of that out," she added. "I could save all of us money and gas. I knew which vendors were good to work with and I knew it'd be an easier way for a lot of parents to get the things they need."
With a Bachelor's Degree in Business and nearly two years experience operating Bella Gems on top of her dancing career, Mendonez put her skills to work to cater state-of-the-art products to families of dancers.
"Having experience in different studios gives me a feel of the expectations and dresscodes that are popular right now," said Mendonez, who still works as a dance instructor today. "I stock my inventory on what's necessary for dancers today, from the color and type of leotard to the specific kind of tap shoes and ballet slippers."
In addition to traditional dance items, Bella Ballerina also carries workout apparel for adults, costume jewelry, tiaras and assorted accessories. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but special arrangements can be made in case of emergency.
For more information, visit Bella Ballerinas on Facebook or stop in the store.