Hear more about the heart of Reflections, from Miss Debbie and Mr. Len - Spring 2021!
Celebrating 25 years in 2022!
Len & Debbie met and were married in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on April 17, 1993. Len was a Youth Pastor in a church and Debbie was on staff in an “Academy of Performing Arts” Training Base with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Debbie had lots of training, teaching and performing there as a staff member for almost 10 years. Debbie grew up in her small hometown of Plymouth, Indiana where her family still resides. She went to Ball State University in Indiana and then moved to Cambridge. Len is actually a Canadian and his hometown where his family resides is Abbotsford, BC, which is 2 hours north of us. (The photo was taken in Victoria, BC, in Sept. 2016, with son Madison & daughter Zoe.)
Len went to YWAM and Columbia Bible College for training in church/mission work. He was involved in several missions and churches and worked as a youth pastor. From 1997 to 2005, Len was a Juvenile Corrections Officer at Denney Youth Center in North Everett with Snohomish County, and he has also served on the Board of Directors of Youth Unlimited since 1996. Len and Debbie have volunteered and served in the pastoral leadership team at their church.
After they were married, they moved to Ohio where Len was involved in church work and residential children’s care. Len suggested to his young bride, “Why don’t you do what you love to do (teach Dance) and actually get paid for it (after teaching on volunteer non-paid staff for so many years)?” Debbie taught and had some great experiences in a couple studios as well as at a community college.
In 1995, Len & Debbie had a “Dream” to move out to the West Coast and start their own dance studio business. In July 1996, they packed up the U-Haul and moved across the country with their 1 month old son, Madison David, to no place and no job. Things soon worked out—they got a place, Len got a job and Debbie quickly began teaching dance again.
In late August of 1997, they bought their first house on 54th Ave SE Everett (1 mile away from where they are now) and immediately remodeled the two-car garage to be a dance studio. One month later they started with 30 students and Reflections School of Dance was born. Since then, they’ve had the tremendous privilege of meeting and training thousands of students and families over the last 25 years.
In September 2001, their daughter Zoe was born, and soon after they traveled to Hawaii for a short getaway. Len proposed a question to Debbie there: “If you're doing your favorite thing in the world (teaching dance) and you’re completely fulfilled doing what you’re supposed to, can you see yourself doing that for at least the next 10-15 years?” Debbie said, “Yes,” and Len responded by saying, “Then it’s a no-brainer, we’ve got to expand and get you a bigger place.”
To make a long story short, Len and Debbie then looked all over the region for a dance studio, but they couldn’t find anything that met their criteria until they heard about the place they have now in Mill Creek. It was the perfect spot and even right across the driveway from their only relatives in the state. They wondered why anyone would have painted the huge three-car shop pink, unless it was somehow meant for them. It even matched a pink model dance studio Len’s mother had given to Debbie years before. In July 2002, they bought the older existing house and property that was going to be developed for the neighboring houses, and they also did their own remodel of the house and studio while the development land was being worked on. Of course, this all took longer than they expected and they were forced to start dance classes in the middle of construction. Those that were with them remember walking through the drywall work, construction, dust, the dug up road, and the muddy driveway.
They were literally brought to tears when one of their faithful mothers fell in a foot of mud and actually laughed, saying, “We like you guys so much we’d travel through a mile of this to get to you.” After they got her dry cleaning bill, Len and Debbie were prompted to try to compensate for their clients' loyalty in other small ways like giving certificates for free carwashes, espressos, recital tickets, and a Christmas voluntary tuition charity month.
Someone once told the Wiens family that if they paid a price (more than literal) to get what they wanted, they’d appreciate it a lot more. That year was the most stressful and busiest of their lives, but it also really was a work of establishment. It really was worth seeing the “Dream Come True” right before their eyes.
The other big change for the business came in June 2005 when Len resigned from his job with the county in order to partner up with Debbie and help administrate the business. They make a great team.
Len and Debbie often tell people, “We absolutely love our family, our home, the studio, and the many students and families we’re blessed to have come here. Thank you everyone for your support in our dream.”
A Dream Come True Part Two!
It was with great joy that Len and Debbie gave this formal announcement a few years ago. They signed a lease on May 12, 2014 for a new studio.
Owning and running their business on their property had great advantages but also great disadvantages. At times they loved the busyness and excitement of wonderful girls with smiley faces coming to and going from their dance classes all over our driveway. Who can forget Mr. Len standing by the door all those years greeting parents and students? For those of you who have read Miss Debbie’s book, you will know that there had been numerous, heartwarming memories created in the old studio. (Feel free to comment some of your own memories.) But after 17 years, Len and Debbie found themselves saying, “Ring, ring, ring…… Hello?...... Your family called and they want their house and life back.”
Len and Debbie recognized how successful their dance programs had been, and yet they felt limited. They felt it was important to increase the potential to give more students the great training and experience we’ve come to enjoy and appreciate here. With some classes remaining full and closed, they'd had to turn away many dancers. It was time for them to expand in order to provide the best possible service to their existing clients and to the families in the community who desired to join them.
In the old studio, over the years Len and Debbie really appreciated the understanding, graciousness and patience of their clients as well as of their neighbors regarding parking. At times it was a challenge, especially during transition times and for large classes. This was another main reason that led them to relocate: so that they could provide easy, accessible parking for everyone at their new location.
This was a big step of faith for them.
They looked forward to open the new custom-made studios for veteran and new dancers to enjoy. It remains a very friendly and visible new location with a great neighborhood feel. They couldn't have moved any closer. So close and so convenient.
Len and Debbie are absolutely in love with the large windows on the second floor which will allow their students and teachers to watch beautiful sunsets over the landscape while they dance. Some businesses might not appreciate the second floor, but for Len and Debbie it’s extremely attractive because it gives them the sense of privacy and continued safety that you have grown accustomed to at Reflections.
What about Bob?! :)
For dancers who have been around for a while, you would know that stuck in the middle of Studio A was a large pole affectionately named “Bob”. We are sorry to say that though Bob will be missed, there are no posts in our two current studios.
It's been fun to watch the changes happen from our first small studio on 54th avenue, to our location on Seattle Hill Road and the addition of Studio B to our present full capacity.
Please feel free to comment or share your favorite memories with us as we move forward!
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