Arthur Murray didn’t invent the tango or the fox trot, but his Coral Gables-based company did help pioneer a more lucrative move: the modern-day franchise.
And now that primetime TV and unlikely celebrities, such as three-time Super Bowl champ Emmitt Smith, have awakened to the charms of ballroom dancing, the venerable dance studio is cashing in.
From its global headquarters on Ponce de Leon Blvd., Arthur Murray International is experiencing double-digit growth, proving that one of the nation’s oldest franchises still has some spring in its step.
”There was a time when ballroom dancing was very much a subculture,” said Thomas Murdock, Arthur Murray vice president for marketing and promotions. “You might have taken dance lessons, but you were never going to tell anybody about it.”
But films such as Shall We Dance and the indie documentary Mad Hot Ballroom have changed that, propelling the franchise — wherein entrepreneurs buy the rights to a business name and method — to greater profits.
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