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New manager pledges ‘many more years’ at shop which has served dancers for decades

PUBLISHED: 08:56 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:07 29 December 2017

Donna with business owner Susan Quinlivan, who decided to hand over the management reins after more than 30 years. 
Picture: Nick Butcher

Donna with business owner Susan Quinlivan, who decided to hand over the management reins after more than 30 years. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

For anyone from Lowestoft with a background in dance, Veriannes Dancewear on London Road South has been a must-visit shop for several decades.

New manager Donna Andrew started dancing when she was five-years-old and has been visiting Veriannes as a customer ever since.  Picture: Nick Butcher New manager Donna Andrew started dancing when she was five-years-old and has been visiting Veriannes as a customer ever since. Picture: Nick Butcher

But when long-term owner Susan Quinlivan decided last year to hang up her dancing shoes after 30 years of management, she faced a challenge to find someone with the same appetite for dance who would give the shop the care and attention that it deserved.

As 2017 rumbled on it looked like this Lowestoft institution might have to close for good, until a regular customer and keen dancer for 27 years stepped in.

Donna Andrew, who began dancing with Louise Elizabeth School of Dance at the age of five, couldn’t bear to see the store close having visited so religiously since she was a little girl.

Veriannes Dancewear on London Road South in Lowestoft has a new manager. Picture: Nick Butcher Veriannes Dancewear on London Road South in Lowestoft has a new manager. Picture: Nick Butcher

After much deliberation, the 32-year-old decided her fondness for Veriannes warranted a step into unknown territory by taking over as manager.

“I just couldn’t let it shut and the change of career sort of fell into my lap,” said Ms Andrew.

“This is the only shop of this kind round here and there is a real need for it - there are at least ten dance schools in the local area.

Despite having a young family, Donna is keen to continue at Veriannes for many years to come. Picture: Nick Butcher Despite having a young family, Donna is keen to continue at Veriannes for many years to come. Picture: Nick Butcher

“Of course you can buy dancewear online, but there’s nothing like buying a new pair of dance shoes in an actual shop and people don’t always like to travel.”

Veriannes first opened in 1986 and started life on Lowestoft’s Essex Road, before later shifting south of the river and then moving to its current base in 2004.

Having officially embarked on her new venture, Ms Andrew temporarily closed the shop for refurbishment on November 25 and set about supplying it with some TLC.

Then, on December 6, Veriannes’ doors officially swung open to the general public once again.

Ms Andrew said: “A lot of people have come in and are surprised at how different it looks.

“You can tell the demand for this kind of specialised shop is there because we were getting so many people come to the door when we were closed.

“Despite having a very young family, I’m keen to continue at Veriannes for many more years.”

Visit the Veriannes Facebook page for more information, including opening hours.

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