It took considerably longer than expected for California’s high-speed rail project to get around to relocating Melinda Scharnick’s dance studio out of the Highway City location on Golden State Boulevard, where she taught dance for the past six years.
But overall, she said, the wait has been worth it for her Stars Dance Studio.
Scharnick held a grand reopening event Friday, combined with a celebration of her 10th anniversary in business, at her new and larger studio in northwest Fresno. Classes actually began earlier this summer shortly after the studio moved from its old digs in May, even moving the hardwood floor from the old location. The new 3,000-square-foot space at 6370 N. Figarden Drive, in the Village Walk center behind the Family Dollar store, is nearly double the size of her old location, which was in the path of work for the state’s bullet train. She and her team now have three studio classrooms in which to teach, plus lobby and office space.
We’re pretty much having to start over, but by rebuilding and getting out of that area, we’re starting fresh.
Melinda Scharnick, Stars Dance Studio owner
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Scharnick originally opened in 2005 in a space on West Shaw Avenue near Brawley Avenue and taught there for about four years.
She had been planning to expand her leased site in a complex at Golden State Boulevard and Cornelia Avenue, but that got put on hold after she learned about the high-speed rail line. “The biggest issue was that the previous owners knew about the rail project but didn’t tell us about it,” she said. Once the rail authority confirmed that it would be acquiring the property, “I had a pretty positive experience, but it was more about the length of time (before anything happened). It took a lot longer and it was much harder to find a location than (the relocation agent) thought.”
The waiting, and issues with the maintenance of the old site as other tenants moved out and storefronts were boarded up, took a toll on her clientele. Scharnick put her advertising on hold because of uncertainty about when the move would happen, and she feared that she might lose out on the opportunity to lease the new site while waiting for the state to make its move. A year or so ago, Scharnick said, the studio had more than 70 students. Last week, the studio reopened with about 50 students, “but we’re hoping in the next couple of weeks to see the numbers go back up as kids come back from vacation,” she said. “We’re pretty much having to start over, but by rebuilding and getting out of that area, we’re starting fresh.”
Since opening on Aug. 1, Scharnick said many of her students’ parents told her the Figarden site is closer to home for them.
Scharnick, her sister and assistant director, Samantha Scharnick, and three other instructors teach jazz, ballet, hip hop and tumbling classes to children age 3 to 18 at the studio.