Did you know that there is a beautiful 17,000 square foot dance, fitness and event center located in the heart of downtown Tigard? It’s true. It’s home to Shawn Gardner Dancing. Why don’t you know that? Here’s the story:
Shawn Gardner Dancing took over The Ballroom at 8900 S.W. Commercial Street, next to the TriMet Transit Center, in a leap of faith in July 2019. Despite hosting three distinct ballroom spaces, the building was practically empty, with very little programming running. Gardner had been building up her own independent business there since 2009 when it was previously owned by The Ballroom Dance Company.
Gardner said her struggles were “endless” taking over the building, partly because new property owners decided to lease the empty building to her at the last minute. Without the benefit of business loans, she was stressed to take on the financial burden but had high hopes as she knew the potential of the venue. Her plan was to re-brand and become a large-scale dance, fitness and event center, facility, but she waited to install new signage until after she was sure the business would make it through at least the first year.
Shawn Gardner Dancing offers dance and fitness programming that includes Country, Ballroom, Latin and Swing, Zumba, Booty Kicker and more. 3 a.m. nights were common as she worked to build the business, but in less than a year she was well on her way. By February 2020, a re-brand and grand opening were in the works.
But then COVID-19 struck. And as a business that specializes in social contact and large gatherings, the effects were devastating. Losing all private rentals, public gatherings and memberships has left the business in extreme debt. Gardner re-opened in June 2020 but has been struggling ever since because of ongoing restrictions meant to prevent the spread of COVID. Now, however, she is facing the possibility of closing for good, due to a “complete lack of promised government assistance.”
“Everyone deserves to earn a living,” she said. “We have watched packed big box corporations get rich while all the small guys suffer with restrictions and close down.”
“They are only helping selected businesses” she said. “The SBA (Small Business Administration) EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) was promised to us and we have been fighting for over a year to get it. We refuse to watch our business go down like this so we are no longer relying on the government. We have decided to move forward with the people and memberships instead.”
Gardner is making one last big push in the month of April to try to survive and continue forward with her re-branding and grand opening plans. Memberships are only $75 a month, which includes all dance and fitness classes, plus dance socials. There are no contracts, no sign-up fee, no pro-rates and you can cancel at any time.
She said her venue is a “free-choice” facility that allows people to choose what is best for them and their health, with options for everyone to feel comfortable.
Shawn Gardner Dancing is open for private rentals for special events such as Weddings, Quinceaneras, Birthday Parties and Community events.
Find out more by stopping in, calling (971) 998-5120 or visiting www.shawngardnerdancing.com to see pictures, videos, the April schedule and more.
“Let’s all get moving together,” she said, “and help keep this facility alive for our Westside Community.”
Mention Tigard Life and get FREE WEEK passes for up to five friends when signing up for your membership! For more information, contact Shawn at (971) 998-5120 or [email protected].