Unique Haddington shop looking for new owners

A ONE-OF-A-KIND county store that has provided dancewear to children in south-east Scotland is looking for new owners to take over the business.

Jo Sayer, 53, has owned and operated Footlights Dancewear in Haddington for 18 years and decided it was finally time to retire and hand over the reins.

The iconic pink and white store has become a staple in Haddington town centre, starting life on Market Street before moving to its current premises in Hardgate.

Ms Sayer said: ‘Footlights Dancewear are the sole supplier and fitter of dancewear and dance footwear in East Lothian, Midlothian and the Borders, and have a trusted affiliation with a large number of dance schools.

“I have put all my energy into developing the business over the past 18 years into what the local council describes as a ’boutique destination’.

“We need someone to take over, this is a desperately needed undertaking and a fantastic opportunity for someone to take.

“The city needs it [Footlights] also he needs these stores, he needs destination stores but also for all of East Lothian there needs to be a dance shop.”

Footlights has made a name for itself as the premier place for dancewear in the area, with affiliations with all the top dance schools while being the only supplier of Rainbows, Brownies and Guides uniforms in the county.

Ms Sayer said the business was always family-oriented but, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, new priorities and challenges prompted her to retire.

“It’s always been a family business, very personal and very customer-focused,” she said.

“During the lockdown, my father passed away suddenly, which changed a lot of things in our lives, and my eldest daughter had a baby.

“I want to be a little freer to help my daughter, I want to be a little freer to maybe go on vacation.”

She added that it would be nice to spend more time with her husband Terry, who is also about to retire.

Ms Sayer also highlighted the “wonderful” staff she had had over the years and how they added so much to what made the Footlights family special.

She said: “We’ve had some fabulous employees over the years who I keep in touch with, I go to their weddings and their baby showers because they’re family, they’re the Footlights family.”

Ms Sayer has decided it’s time to slow down a bit, but she’s also determined to find the right person to carry the Footlights name to Haddington.

“I would like to see it continue and thrive because I’ve dedicated 18 years of my life to it and also because of all my clients, it’s a very personal thing,” she said.

“I can stay for a month and teach someone everything, that’s no problem if it means the right person is in the business to continue providing this fabulous service.

“We put all our love into it and made sure everyone who walks through the door had a great experience and I would like someone to continue in that vein.”

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