Showcase of Cheltenham prides itself on its personal service
INDIVIDUALITY and specialist knowledge is the secret behind the success of an independent dance and fancy dress shop.
Showcase, which is an Aladdin's cave loved by customers, was opened by John and Heather Pannett in 1992.
Spread over three floors, the shop in Cheltenham boasts an array of over 3,000 fancy dress costumes, as well as dance wear, souvenirs and cards.
Customers from as far as Oxford, Swindon and Bristol head to the shop in Montpellier Arcade, Montpellier.
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The couple decided to set up a business combining their previous jobs. John used to work as a buyer for the Co-op and Heather was a dance teacher.
They have also been involved in the theatre for more than 40 years; John as a director and Heather as a choreographer.
John said they offered "something different" to high street stores.
He said: "We thought this type of shop would be the perfect idea.
"The main reason for the shop's success is down to individuality and specialist knowledge.
"You need to really know what you're talking about."
The business prides itself on having a good relationship with dance schools, as well as hotels to encourage tourists to visit. They are one of the few places away from the high street selling souvenirs that tourists can take home.
John said: "People know us, and know we'll look after them. If there's a request we'll get on to our suppliers to try and find it.
"Once a customer has been to us, they will invariably come back, whether it's for another pair of ballet shoes or a fancy dress costume." Fancy dress costumes remain popular purchases with the range on offer including 70s, Tudor, pirate and medieval.
The shop is currently enjoying "quite a craze" for ballroom attire brought on by the popularity of BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
Other sellers which have increased in popularity this year have been trainers and clothes to wear to Zumba fitness classes and Queen fancy dress outfits for jubilee parties. After a successful 20 years in business, John wants to continue to build on their personal service.
He said: "My wife and I are always around if anyone ever needs any help.
"I think the service and standards could disappear if we were to open another place. One's enough."
Showcase is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm.
For more information visit www.showcaseonline.co.uk.