A South Tyneside mum who failed to find a job after struggling with childcare has opened the doors of her first business.
Tracy Hancock left work as a sales assistant in a jewellery store to give birth to her daughter Tegan.
It was when I opened the doors for the first time that’s when it hit meTracy Hancock
But plans to return to her job came to nothing after her dad died and she became a carer to her mum, who passed away two years later.
Finally picking herself up, she began looking for work, but struggled to find anything which would fit in around looking after her daughter Tegan, five.
But following the closure of Halls dance shop in Laygate, she found an ideal solution to her work problems – opening up her own dancewear shop.
Miss Hancock said: “My little girl dances and we always went into Halls for her leotards.
“After the retirement of the owner, people started struggling for places to go, so I thought ‘why not?’
“The last four years have been a horrible time for me, my dad died then two years later my mam died, so it was just me and my little girl.
“When I went back to work I knew I would struggle with childcare, so I decided to work for myself. “
After seeking help from Tedco, the 33-year-old, from South Shields, pulled a business plan together and set about opening the doors of her new business.
Miss Hancock added: “It has been all right, I thought I would be a bit frightened but I have had lots of support from friends and family and Nicky from Tedco.
“It was only when I opened the doors for the first time to the public – that’s when it hit me.
“Up until then I’d only been pushing the shutters up halfway while I was in setting the shop up, but this time I was pushing them all the way up and letting people in.”
The doors to the Dance Palace officially opened on November 10.
The shop sells a range of dancewear and is the official stockists of Grishko Pointe Shoes.
Miss Hancock has also undergone training in the fitting of pointe shoes.
Nicky Gray, business advisor from Tedco, said “Tracy has pulled all the stops out, she found a real gap in the market and then continued to do some further research and invested in the Pointe shoe fitting, which gives her a real edge.
“Tracy is a great example of someone who wants to help other businesses in South Shields, and has worked with other small businesses – from her shop fitting to her sign, branding and website, everything has been sourced locally.”
The Dance Palace is open Tuesdays to Saturdays 9.30am until 5pm.
The shop can be contacted through the Facebook page www.facebook.com/TheDancePalaceSouthShields or call 340 2790.