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CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — When Mackenzie Buchanan was a little girl playing with her dolls, she imagined creative business scenarios.

“I would play dolls all the time, but I would make them like my customers,” she said. “Some little girls pretend to be teachers, doctors or lawyers, but I mostly pretended to be a business woman.”

Buchanan doesn’t have to pretend any longer. The 17-year-old entrepreneur is opening a new dance studio in Chesapeake, Ohio.

Studio 301 at 518 3rd Ave. is having its grand opening on Saturday, July 25.

“I have been dreaming of this since I was 7 and made my first business plan,” she said. “I still have it in a binder that I kept.”

Buchanan obtained her business license when she was 16 in May and had her mind set on opening up a dance studio soon after.

“My entire life I have danced at Huntington Dance Theater, which will be like my forever home,” she said. “They really instilled in me a passion for dance.”

The new Studio 301 will offer many different dance genres including baton, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, mommy and me, jazz, acrobatics, pointe, tap, stretch and hip-hop, according to Buchanan.

“We always want to show that anyone can dance at any age,” she said. “It’s for all ages and genders. We are all-inclusive here.”

Buchanan said classes range in levels from beginner to advanced and for ages 18 months and older.

“There is nothing else like this in Chesapeake, and I want all of the community to have a place to dance,” she said. “You don’t have to be 5 years old to start ballet classes. You can dance at any age.”

Classes are only $10 per class, Buchanan said.

“We offer a competitive dance program that focuses on technique,” she explained. “Students who choose to participate in this program will not only perform for professional adjudicators, but they will also learn and attend master classes from professional dancers.”

The studio will have at least four dance instructors on staff, one of whom is Burchanan’s mom, Melissa.

“I started dancing here locally at Nancy’s and then I moved to Huntington Dance Theater and was the assistant director for several years,” Melissa Buchanan said. “Basically, Mackenzie grew up in a dance studio.”

Buchanan is going to be a senior at Fairland High School at Proctorville, Ohio, where he dad, Jon, is the school’s girls’ basketball coach.

“Her dad and I are just so proud of her,” her mom said. “We are here to support her, but this venture is entirely her own.”

Buchanan says while opening a new business during a national pandemic is challenging, she is remaining positive.

“I felt like there is never going to be a right time, so I just have to take the challenges this virus presents handle them as they come at us,” she said.

The new studio has free face mask coverings and hand sanitizer for those who come in, as well as signage to follow all the state and federal social distancing recommendations and guidelines.

Studio 301’s grand opening and registration is from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25.

“We plan to have lots of prizes and food, and Dance Station, another business located in the Huntington area, will be at the grand opening offering apparel for sale that includes shoes, tights and leotards,” Buchanan said. “Our first day of classes begins August 3.”

Studio 301 will be open from 4:40 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“These hours will allow me to finish my high school education as well as continue taking college courses online at Ohio University,” Buchanan said. “I haven’t decided on what I will major in, but I thought about advertising and communications because it would be helpful to this business.”

Buchanan said the best advice she can offer other teens thinking about starting a business is to just do it.

“If you have the passion you can pretty much do anything,” she said. “When you have support of the community, especially a small town community, you can succeed. Two months ago, I would have never thought this was possible, but now here we are and ready to open.”

For more information about registration or classes, visit online at, check them out on Facebook or call them at 740-861-3960.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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