The Dancers Drawer celebrates milestone anniversary

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Bob Dean shows a newspaper article from 1989 about the opening day of The Dancers Drawer. On Oct. 24 owner Susan Barbour held a 35th anniversary celebration. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
The Fall Festival by North Attleboro Rotary Club
Dancers Drawer owner Susan Barbour and Bob Dean—whose wife Mary Jane started the business—celebrate the 35th anniversary. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Working at The Dancers Drawer, Susan Barbour has seen a lot of change to North Attleborough’s downtown.

Places like The Gourmet Penguin and J.J. Newbury’s are just some of the names that were once found along N. Washington Street, now home to The Mad Moose, Mackie’s, The Preservation Framer, and much more. Some of the parents that enter The Dancers Drawer were at one time young students of hers.

It’s just a few of the many memories she’s made working at the business, and she hopes to make a lot more. Last Saturday, Barbour met with family and friends to celebrate the retail dance store’s 35th anniversary. Originally located in The Odd Fellows building, it has been a mainstay of the community.

I’m blessed,” said Barbour on Saturday. “During COVID, most small businesses were wondering if they will make it, will the doors open.”

During the pandemic, Barbour’s business, like so many others, were forced to close. She switched to curbside pickup, which she still offers today. She said making it to this milestone is significant as both a small business and one that is owned by a woman.

We’re still going,” she said proudly.

A toast to the 35th anniversary of The Dancers Drawer. Originally located at the Odd Fellows Building, it’s one of the oldest businesses currently in operation. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

Barbour first came to the store with her 2-year-old child to ask about dance lessons, and founder Mary Jane Dean asked if she’d like to work there. Mary Jane—who passed away in 2014—was the creator of the Dimension Center of Dance and Dancers Drawer, starting in a two-car garage in Plainville. As the business grew she relocated to the Mason Building and further success allowed her to purchase the Odd Fellows Building. This gave her the space for Dancers Drawer, which is now located adjacent to Dimensions Dance, at the corner of Orne and N. Washington streets.

They were so nice,” she said of Mary Jane and her husband Bob.

Barbour credits the business lasting 35 years to being a welcoming location and the support of the community. When the Deans decided to retire 17 years ago, they offered her the store before anyone else, and she said yes. Along with being the owner, both Barbour and her children have danced.

The store has become something that extended my passion,” she said.

Bob attended the celebration, showing off a newspaper article from 1989 that chronicled the opening day. He talked a lot about the change that the area has seen, and that Dancers Drawer is among the oldest business currently in operation.

We’re really proud of her,” he said of Barbour.

The Fall Festival by North Attleboro Rotary Club