Dancewear Store Founder and Free Spirit, Taffy Epstein, Dies at Age 92

Taffy_Epstein-207x300Source: Dance Studio Life

Taffy Epstein, founder of the famous Taffy’s Inc. dancewear store and “simply someone who took everything from life and lived it to the fullest point” according to her family, died June 10. She was 92.

Born on July 20, 1920 in Akron, Ohio, Epstein (nee Harriett Gombossy) graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and Miami University, reported the Cleveland Jewish News. From humble beginnings in a small dancewear store in Cleveland’s Arcade in 1954, Epstein made Taffy’s a nationwide dance boutique, with 14 retail locations from Boston to Atlanta to Dallas to San Jose.

Taffy’s changed the face of the dancewear business by offering color samples of pre-sewn costumes. When her flagship retail store opened up in New York at 57th and Broadway, her daughter called to tell her, “Mom, your name is up on Broadway.” Epstein accomplished all this while raising two children as a single mother.

After selling Taffy’s to Capezio in 1990, Taffy started a take-out delivery service called Dinner is Served. In 2011, when Epstein learned that a dear friend’s daughter had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she single-handedly raised enough money to start the Yes…I Can (!) Dance program at the Mandel JCC in Cleveland.

A life-long Clevelander, Epstein is survived by her son Steve Epstein of Ageo, Japan; daughter Susan Epstein of New York City; and grandchildren Mika and Boone Epstein.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Shaking With Laughter ( with a footnote directing it to Yes…I Can (!) Dance.

To see the full obituary, visit

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