Kerri Vaughn became an entrepreneur when she lost her corporate job during the economic downturn of 2008. At the time, Kerri was living on her 60 acre farm near Syracuse, NY and working as a Business Analyst for a technology company with a strong entrepreneurial culture. During her spare time, Kerri was an avid dancer in Syracuse's Salsa scene and had hopes of turning her farm into a dance retreat upon retirement.
Through her dance connections in Rochester, NY, Kerri learned that the Tango Cafe Dance Studio was up for sale. Burnt out from the “corporate grind”, she decided to put her corporate experience to the test. Along with a partner, Kerri took the plunge into being an entreperneur. Over the next six years Kerri has more than doubled revenue and solidified her brand. In 2013, the Tango Cafe Dance Studio was voted Rochester's Best Dance Studio in the annual City Newspaper business survey. In 2014, Kerri moved her studio to the historic Jonathan Child House in downtown Rochester, NY. where she continues to offer a variety of dance classes, dance socials, live music concerts, and private parties.
Kerri has three adult children and was recently remarried. She splits her time between Rochester and her husband's 300 acre farm near Dansville. NY. When asked what her longterm goals are, she says “To be a stop on the Mt. Hope Cemetary tour. That means I have to accomplish great things between now and then.”
Despite growing up in a musical family, Kerri Vaughn never stepped onto a dance floor until she was introduced to International Folk Dancing in the mid-90's. For the next ten years, she learned hundreds of choreographies and found that she had a knack for teaching them to other people. Over time, she was introduced to other social dances, Contra, Country, and Swing being some of her favorites. Around 2002, while attending a Swing dance in Ithaca, NY, Kerri watched a performance of what would become her signature dance, Rueda de Casino (Salsa meets Square Dancing). She immediately sought out an instructor in Syracuse, NY and became an avid dancer of Salsa and Rueda de Casino. Although Salsa is still her main dance style, Kerri has added Ballroom, Bachata, Samba de Gafieira, and Argentine Tango to her repertoire. Most recently, she has taken up Tap dancing and performs Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' routines with her husband, Charlie.
The Tango Cafe Dance Studio has three channels of revenue. The original channel is the namesake dance studio. Tango Cafe Dance Studio offers adult social dance classes in Latin, Ballroom, and Argenine Tango. For each of their dance styles, there is a corresponding dance social where students are encouraged to practice what they are learning in class, in a real-life social atmosphere. The studio also throws dance parties, including Rochester's #1 Salsa party every Friday night.
The studio's home is the Jonathan Child House, which was the private residence of Rochester's first mayor. Due to its historic significance and elegant décor, the studio is a popular venue for private parties and weddings. With its fully equipped kitchen, events can be catered on-site, including a license to sell wine, beer, and spirits. This revenue channel is growing quickly and expected to surpass the dance instruction channel.
The third revenue channel is a niche market for affordable custom made dance shoes. The studio has paired with a shoe-maker is South America specializing in Tango shoes. The nature of Tango shoes, being stiffer and more street-like than ballroom shoes, make these shoes very appealing to non-dancers and dancers alike. Customers can choose not only the fabric, they can choose from five different heel styles, from 1” to 3.5” in height. These shoes are gaining popularity in the bridal market, making this a growing revenue channel.
In a nutshell, the Tango Cafe Dance Studio can teach you how to dance, give you a place to dance, and even put shoes on your feet. That's what we call full service!