In the five years since she opened Prestige Dance Studio in Cedar Rapids, Jess Novotny has been busy.
Two years after opening her business, she expanded the dance studio, adding a third classroom. A year and a half later, she included a fourth.
Last year, she became coach of Xavier High School’s dance team, leading it to qualify for the national championships in Florida set for this coming January.
She also was hired by two nationally known dance companies to serve as a judge at competitions around the country several times a year.
In the midst of all of it, she and her husband added two more daughters to their family of five.
“I thrive on being busy,” Novotny said.
Now, in an environment in which only about half of all small businesses survive for more than five years, Novotny is celebrating the fifth birthday of her business by opening a second location. The Marion studio — fewer than five miles from her original venue — opened Aug. 4.
“We have lots of Marion clients, and I kept getting all this feedback about the drive,” she said. “The drive between locations takes 17 minutes even though the mileage is close. That’s far enough.”
The new location will accommodate up to 200 units — each unit being a student enrolled in a class — in addition to 1,000 units at the Cedar Rapids location.
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“We’re pretty much at capacity in Cedar Rapids,” Novotny said. “By opening Marion, Marion families will go there and open more spots in Cedar Rapids.”
She noted that 90 of the 200 new units already are filled.
The two studios will run as an integrated entity, with the staff of 13 splitting their time between the two locations.
“We’ll have the same teachers, the same syllabus and the same experience,” Novotny said.
While she hasn’t had to add staff to accommodate the new studio, she said current dance instructors — many of whom have been with her for several years — will be able to add more hours to their part-time schedules.
As for her own hours, Novotny shared her secret for successfully managing her busy schedule.
“I don’t multitask,” she said. “If I’m with my kids, I am 100 percent with them. If I’m in my classroom, I am 100 percent a teacher.
“My goal is to be 100 percent focused on what is in front of me so that it’s done well and doesn’t need to be fixed later.”
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At a Glance
l Owner: Jess Novotny
l Business: Prestige Dance Studio
l Address: 143 Marion Blvd., Suite A, Marion
l Phone: (563) 543-8414
l Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
l Website: prestigedancestudio.com