Fond farewell to longtime dance wear shop: owner of Escott Place retiring
June 30 wasn’t just any other Tuesday for Delores Jones. With the final closing of her beloved dance wear store, Escott Place, it was the end of an era.
For more than 20 years, the Grass Valley shop had become more than just the colorful racks and shelves of tap, modern, ballroom, ballet, clogging and belly dancing accoutrements. It had become an important multi-generational hub of the dance community, where Jones watched generations of dancers grow up, then bring their own children through her doors for that first leotard or tutu.
But over the past few months, Jones received what she called “the double whammy.” First, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, requiring her store to close, which translated into no sales for over three months. Then, she said, she and other business owners in the Pioneer Village shopping center on South Auburn Street received eviction notices requiring them to vacate by the end of June.
It was the final straw.
Jones considered applying for a loan, but, being the sole owner and employee, she decided it might be too much to take on.
“I’m 76 years old — if I was 50, or even 60 — I would consider getting a loan and paying it back,” she said. “But I decided I’m done. I have so much to be grateful for. I want my customers to know that they inspired me, they kept me alive.”
“Dolores has been a cornerstone for the dance community for many years — she took great care of my students the years I was at Nevada Union High School and for the past nine years with my studio, Holt Ballet Conservatory,” said Yelena Holt. “She was always attentive and knowledgeable and eager to give us great service, even coming in early on a Saturday morning to fit my excited students in their first pointe shoes. She loved making the dancers proud and happy. She will be greatly missed.”
It’s clear Jones has given a lot to Nevada County’s dance community. Before everything was dismantled, her walls were covered with photos of local dancers and Jones was known to attend performances featuring some of her longtime customers.
“Dolores has been so supportive of all of the dance studios in the area — she always made sure to reach out to studio owners to make sure she was stocking items that would be appropriate for our classes and dress code,” said Krista Pagan of the Nevada City Ballet Academy. “I could confidently send my new ballerinas to her shop because I knew she would help them find the correct attire. Many of my students and their parents have mentioned to me how much they appreciated her helpfulness, kindness and genuine interest that she has shown to her customers. We will certainly miss having a local dance shop.”
To feed her spirit and soul, Jones said she needs to have a purpose. But that won’t be a problem, she said. Without spending six days a week in her shop, she will now be able to spend more time focusing on her volunteer work as a court-appointed special advocate for foster children, as well as spending time with her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I just want to thank everyone for sharing their family stories and letting me watch their children grow up — from childhood to the teen years, to adulthood,” said Jones. “So many dancers here have gone on to accomplish great things and have come back to see me. Thank you for letting me be a part of this community. I just want to say good-bye and thank you for supporting me all these years.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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