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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:08:15 14:26:45

An item at 8 Count Dancewear.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:08:15 14:26:09

Carolyn Giordano, left, and Liza Murray.

by Carolyn Giordano

Liza Murray of Scranton has been dancing since she was four years old. She still loves dancing today and found a way to turn her lifelong passion into a small business, 8 Count Dancewear, which opened in October of 2016 on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton.

The Dunmore native holds a business management degree from Elizabethtown College and a master’s degree in public administration from Marywood University.

When Murray realized there was a need for another dance store in the area, she took the leap and used both her dance and educational background to open 8 Count. Prior to that, she worked as a drug and alcohol counselor for nine years. She also worked as an administrative assistant for a brief time.

8 Count provides clothing, shoes and accessories to any local dance studios, dance companies and theater companies. It also offers private fittings and special orders depending on the customer’s needs. One unique service the business offers is the sewing of pointe shoes. When a customer buys pointe shoes from 8 Count, Murray will sew them at no charge – an example of her commitment to her customers.

“I will do anything for my customers,” Murray said.

She also plans to offer a pointe shoe sewing class so customers can learn to sew their own pointe shoes.

When first opening 8 Count, most of Murray’s struggles centered around marketing. It was tough for her to figure out the best way to advertise and get the store’s name out there. This is a struggle many small business owners face. Once one finds the correct way to market to the intended audience, however, business will soar.

Now a couple years into her business, Murray struggles with different challenges. Because 8 Count is a specialty boutique it doesn’t offer everything everyone is looking for. This puts her in competition with online stores, where customers will buy and return until they find the right size, rather than coming into the store.

Murray is also still working on improving her knowledge of social media, a large part of the dance world. Because she still teaches dance, it is easy for her to keep up with the trends and her main focus is on learning what studios people are from, as each studio has different requirements.

“Dancing” into the future, Murray would like to bring in a bigger brand of shoe/clothing

dance line as well as look into bringing an athletic wear line into the store.

Although the yoga line she tried in the past wasn’t a big success, she would like to bring athletic wear into the store in order to cater to many of the mothers who come in shopping for or with their daughters. Athletic wear can be worn in various types of dance as well.

After overcoming many challenges, Murray offers a few pieces of advice for other entrepreneurs:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said.

She had a strong business background but realized she needed to learn more and that’s exactly what she did by using others as resources. She still learns something new every day, even in retail.

She also advises business owners to find a good group of other entrepreneurs and work with them. In doing so, they are able to build each other up and become more successful.

Carolyn Giordano is a University of Scranton Women’s Entrepreneurship Center (WEC) intern working under the supervision of Donna Simpson, Consultant Manager. She is beginning her third year with the center.

8 Count Dancewear is at 534 Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton. The business can be found online at 8Countdancewear, and on Facebook and Instagram.