A shared love of caring for children, plus a track record of working in the industry, led this mother and daughter team to buy a business they both knew. Melissa Hertneky, who worked as an office manager for Discovery Kids Child Care in Colorado Springs for five years, heard the owners were retiring and selling the business. She and her mom, Jill Yellico, decided to buy the center in 2013 to provide their community with safe, affordable, high-quality care for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years.
In order to make improvements to the day care facility and get the word out about new ownership, Melissa and Jill needed a loan. They went to UMB Bank and were referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) where they got financing in 2014. This loan and another in 2015 helped them hire a professional web developer and improve both the website and the SEO for their customers.
“We spent the majority of the first loan on facility improvements, to include new equipment (toys and books), a new infant playground, and new carpeting and blinds throughout the building,” said Jill. “We also purchased technology to improve teachers’ abilities to introduce computer skills to young children.” Offering age-appropriate separated playgrounds, classrooms and supplies were key selling points.
The business has grown from caring for 55-65 infants, toddlers, and children each weekday to approximately 80 children today. Melissa and Jill have made additional facility improvements including new signage, parking lot paving, and interior paint. Originally employing 14 full-time staff, the center has grown to 17 to include high school and college students in the summer to support increased enrollment. They are also very active in their local community supporting early childhood education associations and initiatives.
In 2018, Melissa and Jill improved their summer camp program by purchasing a new full-sized van that allowed them to take their summer campers on field trips during the week. They also transport students from five schools for before/after school care.
“It is our pleasure to watch our children grow into the people we know they can be,” remarked Jill. “Without CEF, Discovery Kids Child Care may not have survived the early stages of growing the business. Thank you, CEF!