View in Browser View in Browser

Building a space for dance and celebration in Gillette, WY

By Christina Kappaz
Building a space for dance and celebration in Gillette, WY

As Live 2 Dance enters its 15th dance season, it is embarking on a new phase of growth, leaving behind rented locations and opening a full studio and event space in its own building in Gillette.

“Dance fills people’s lives with joy – from toddlers to adults,” says owner Angela Hartley-Drube. Both she and her mother, Donna Packard who is also a dance teacher, knew they wanted to bring joy to the community and create a space that was accessible to everyone. The new building, Arts and Celebrations by the Creek, can welcome more people into the world of movement and creativity. The building has a purposeful design with details ranging from portable stages and removable divisions that convert dance studios into a banquet hall, to the coloring of walls to ensure a place to get the perfect photograph of dancers or a wedding party.

A dancer and photographer by training, Angela is also an entrepreneur at heart. She loves owning her own business, but it has dozens of challenges. One challenge was to build and own a new building, rather than renting forever. Investing in a building also made a statement about her connection and stability in the community.

Angela’s message for other entrepreneurs:
Don’t give up. No matter how hard it gets, never forget why you got into this business, what sparked your joy. When things get tough, reach out to people in your community; you never know who might be able to help you navigate your dream.
Angela Hartley-Drube, Owner/Operator
Live 2 Dance & Arts & Celebrations by the Creek

When it came time to realize that ownership dream, Angela visited several banks in town, seeking the one that would be willing to work with her small business. She found a great partner in Tyler Watts at Security State Bank. Tyler said he would work with her to make this happen, and he did just that. He started off reviewing her financials and explaining what she needed to get her books in order to meet the bank’s requirements. Lots of planning ensued.

Initially, the Wyoming Smart Capital Network helped the company to purchase the building lot through a smaller Security State Bank loan. Angela went to work on continuing to grow her business and making the final plans to build a new building. To convince the bank to make the construction loan, she demonstrated repayment capability, but needed collateral to cover any unforeseen circumstances. The collateral of the building itself got Angela most of the way there. To close the gap, the bank again turned to the Wyoming Smart Capital Network for collateral support equal to 25% of the total loan, which allowed them to finalize the deal.

collage of three images: a large building with a peaked roof and many cars parked in front of it, a banquet hall with white-draped tables in front of a stage with a black curtain, and a spacious indoor swimming pool with large windowsOne year later, the building is complete and bursting with activity. Angela and Donna’s creativity has led to a business model that diversifies income streams and provides confidence in the strength and growth of the business in the years ahead.

In addition to dance classes, they can now lease the space for events, run a gym for parents to workout while their children are in class, and rent out rooms for massage therapists and music teachers.

The space also allows for a richer experience for the dancers, with wonderful studio space as well as dressing rooms and even a quiet study space to do homework in between classes or performances.

It was great to support Live 2 Dance's business expansion into their new building in partnership with Security State Bank. Live 2 Dance has been a staple in the Gillette community providing a positive outlet for people of any age to experience the benefits of dance. WSCN was impressed with Angela Hartley-Drube’s prior success and her strategies to grow the business with the new facility. Live 2 Dance exemplifies investing into a community project to benefit where people live, work and play.
Kendall Hutchinson, Wyoming Smart Capital Network

The Wyoming Smart Capital Network (WSCN) creates jobs by helping small business access capital. The fund was initially created with funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury as a part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program and is now an evergreen fund. The WSCN is a coalition of 16 municipalities who joined together to bring this capital resource to their communities. Development Capital Networks manages and administer WSCN on behalf of the consortium to foster small business growth and enhance job creation throughout the state of Wyoming. Security State Bank is a participating lending partner.