The Dance Theatre Shop has been supplying dance shoes, attire and other accessories to the San Mateo community for almost seven decades.
Since the 1950s, the store has sold quality shoes throughout the city and now, Lisa Forte with daughter and partner Julia Forte in charge, the Dance Theatre Shop website has been updated to show the modern side of the 69-year-old business.
The Dance Theatre Shop is now available for online shoppers; however, they still encourage customers to visit the store at 309 S. B St. for the ultimate shoe-fitting experience.
“We are all about the fit-and-product knowledge. For teens and adults that get their attire it’s just getting their dance supplies, but for children it’s a memory,” said owner Lisa Forte.
With two locations in downtown San Mateo and Mountain View, the store has become a staple in the community that reflects on their long-standing professional customer service.
“It is very fulfilling, we care about our business and owning this store is our way of giving to the community. I think the most satisfying thing is when we have grandmothers bringing in their grandchildren, stating that she used to get her shoes here,” said Julia Forte.
The store was formerly known as Capezio, and was taken over by Lisa Forte in 1993. Later, daughter Julia Forte joined the family business.
Lisa Forte had previous experience in retail, owning another clothing store in San Mateo.
“I love retail, I had another children’s specialty store on 25th Avenue years ago and I had just closed. The opportunity then came after a friend who knew I had a dance background told me the business was for sale,” said Lisa Forte.
San Mateo was able to see the rebirth of the dance store and, after the closing of a competitor, it allowed for the opening of their second store located on 982 El Monte Ave. in Mountain View.
With two locations throughout the San Mateo County, Dance Theatre Shop is a convenient choice for residents looking to strive in the art of dance.
“I grew up dancing in San Mateo and that was the only dance store. Lisa watched me grow and now my kids. It’s sad that because we are in Silicon Valley a lot of people go online and miss the person-to-person experience,” said customer Samantha Carnegie.
Although dance is the center of their business, they are proud to be part of San Mateo’s history as they have seen it change for many years. Upset to see some of their neighbors go, the Forte family hopes to see more family-owned retail stores open in downtown San Mateo.
“Every retail store has their own little flare and style and we all do our best to keep our doors open, facing the competition of the internet not each other. The internet is forcing us to compete in a different way,” said owner Forte.
For the customers’ convenience, the store keeps track of all the clients’ information so when the customer can’t make it into the shop, they can see what they purchased last and submit their order.
“They always know what I need and even help me know what size shoe my kid might be, they’re passionate about dance,” said Carnegie.
The Dance Theatre Shop carries some of the industry’s top brands with an array of moderate options for children and adults, both beginners and professionals.
“We try to be respectful to the dance community so that they can afford it. A lot of these families have kids taking two to three classes and that’s a couple hundred dollars. We are mindful of that because it’s not just about sale here, never has been,” said Lisa Forte.
The store is familiarized with many dance theaters and schools around the community and afar as some are listed on their website, but do not assign any to customers.
“We don’t make recommendations for schools and the reason is because we support all dance environments. When working with children, every school has something great to offer and not every school is for every child,” said Lisa Forte.
Some additional services offered at the Mountain View location include personalized pointe shoe fittings with Lisa Forte.
“I cover education on the whole picture. That is body alignment, strength and flexibility, teaching them awareness of the rotation of their hips, of hygiene and it’s all part of the package to avoid injuries,” said Lisa Forte.
Their many years of experience allows them to help answer questions and prepare customers for their dancing journey.
Go to dancetheatreshop.com for more information.