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For the past 46 years, Gahanna’s Pinnell Dance Centre has transformed local dancers into global stars. Thousands of students have graced the training rooms at Pinnell Dance Centre, which remains popular with the continuous rise of innovative dance trends.
“Everything comes together through our dance company. It’s about nurturing families and supporting one another, in both good times and bad,” explained founder and co-owner Jeri Pinnell who opened her studio in 1976.
Unique features set apart the Pinnell Dance Centre, including springboard floors, 7 dance studios complete with parental viewing windows, a student study room, and an on-site store. The latest technology guides the dancer’s movements through a state-of-the-art sound system with variable-speed playback.
“Our classes are very fun and really personal. Everyone receives personalized training, so no one is lost in the shuffle. Through our classes and events, we grow to support one another’s goals and aspirations,” shared Pinnell.
The halls of Pinnell Dance Centre are plastered with accomplishments, illustrating the astounding feats of its alumni. Its students have been featured in music videos of Madonna, Beyonce, and Jay Z, along with the hit shows Glee and Star Search. Over 10 Broadway musicals have showcased Pinnell dancers, including Cats, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“I grew up dancing, and it fulfilled my passion to open a studio in Gahanna. Gahanna is situated perfectly to attract people from many surrounding cities, and Gahanna itself is such a diverse, fun place to be. It’s great our studio is so close to Creekside, too,” said Pinnell.
The unwavering success of Pinnell Dance Centre and its alumni has enabled this local business to significantly contribute to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Gahanna’s GRIN food pantry. Additionally, Pinnell has taught dance classes at the Gahanna Senior Center and participated in a clothing drive for Whitehall public schools.
“It’s so important to teach young people to give back,” said Ashley Holt, Pinnell’s daughter, who is a co-owner of the Pinnell Dance Centre. “It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to dance in the first place, and it’s even more exciting to have generations of families support our charitable endeavors.”
When faced with business operating restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Pinnell Dance Centre adapted in several ways to ensure the mental health and physical benefits of dance remained constant.
“We installed a tent in our parking lot, and parents sat in chairs outside to help keep the dance classes and performances going. Dance is a such a critical activity during hard times by spreading cheer and letting people really experience joy, so we jumped into action to make that happen for our students,” explained Pinnell.
After 46 years, Pinnell still has more goals to accomplish.
“I just wish everyone in our whole world could participate in formal dance training. Our company has had the opportunity to take part in overseas dance tours, and nothing feels better than people coming together from different backgrounds. Thankfully, I’m continuing to see more and more boys and young men get into dance, which is fantastic, too,” exclaimed Pinnell.
To learn more about Pinnell Dance Centre, please visit its website or stop by the Centre at 284 Agler Road.
Unlike many small businesses across the country, Gahanna’s Simple Times Mixers at 670 Cross Pointe Road, Suite M has implemented meaningful ways to successfully find, train, and grow its lively workforce.
The company’s openness and dedication to process improvement, especially in the sectors of training and human resources, enabled it to not only retain its workers, but to also grow its employment base every year. Simple Times Mixers now boasts a record-high 30 employees.
“Running a business is not just about getting people to perform tasks, but it’s really about understanding, cultivating, and empowering workers to hone their skills in an inspiring way,” shared owner Mark Tinus, founder of Simple Times Mixers.
Tinus launched Simple Times in January 2018, and today the company’s wide range of mixers, including teas, mules, lemonades and margaritas, are distributed nationally in nearly 400 unique locations. The bulk of these sites are in the Midwest at chains such as Giant Eagle, Fresh Thyme, and Whole Foods, along with independent, local shops including 1837 Wine and Spirits and Noble Cut Distillery.
Last year, Tinus became interested is techniques to lower employee turnover and increase retention. The City of Gahanna’s Economic Development Department met with Tinus several times to map out options, ensuring Simple Times was aware of local job fairs at Gahanna Lincoln High School. The City of Gahanna also shared regional and state workforce program resources with Tinus, including the On-the-Job Training (OJT) reimbursement program offered by the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio (WDBCO). Through this program, WDBCO reimburses businesses 50% of wages for eligible employees during their first six-months of training.
“I was excited to step back and really analyze the mindset behind our training programs. The team from WDBCO helped us a create an amazing 32-point training inspection that has overdelivered. Our first trainee who participated in this program really excelled, which motivated me to repeat the OJT program with two more employees,” exclaimed Tinus.
Simple Times Mixers was so dedicated to improving overall employee wellness that its business leadership buckled down to create a comprehensive training plan through the OJT program that included measurement tools for effectiveness.
“By meeting so frequently with the team at WDBCO, I grew to trust their sound advice and reliability. Even after we evaluated the Simple Times training program with a fine-tooth comb, we still held monthly meetings to ensure the training outcomes were on track and that our employees were thriving,” explained Tinus.
“I’ve never worked with a workforce partner before that was so invested in our workforce success as much as the WDBCO, and the reimbursement of training funds was wonderful,” said Tinus.
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