By Amanda Kuhnert –

ABC & LOL Child Care CenterHeather Hudson had been running a successful child-care business in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for five years when she saw an opportunity to expand. A competing child-care center became available for purchase, and she wanted to buy it.

But was it a good idea? Hudson needed to determine whether the purchase was a sound financial move.

For help assessing the viability of the venture, Heather’s bank referred her to business advisor Ross Hart at the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). Hart specializes in finance and business planning.

“Heather had a high degree of expertise in her industry and had been successful with her existing business,” Ross explained. “But she understood that there was a degree of complexity with purchasing another business that she didn’t fully understand. So she connected with me to help her review and assess the financials of the business she was interested in and develop some financial projections to complete her loan application package.”

Since the purchase in 2016, Heather has grown her business, ABC & LOL Child Care Center, from 26 to 149 children and supports 32 employees. “I couldn’t have had this success without Ross’s knowledge, support, and enthusiasm,” Heather said.

Hudson’s success is a win-win-win outcome for her business, families in the St. Johnsbury area, and local employers.

“Child care is an essential component of a healthy and stable workforce and critical to every Vermont family,” said Linda Rossi, VtSBDC’s state director. “Starting any small business with a solid business plan and financial resources increases the likelihood of success; VtSBDC is here to assist child-care businesses start, grow, and be sustainable.”

The child-care challenge in Vermont

The success of ABC & LOL Child Care Center is a step forward in the statewide initiative to increase child-care options for working parents in Vermont.

Vermont’s economy depends on successful business owners who provide goods, services, and jobs. But businesses can’t survive without a stable workforce. And finding reliable employees is an issue many Vermont entrepreneurs face.

Better access to affordable, high-quality child-care is part of the solution. According to Let’s Grow Kids, a public awareness and engagement campaign, “When working parents can rely on child care, their productivity increases, absenteeism is reduced and turnover is minimized.”

If we want to keep our young workforce here and attract new families, we have to make child care more accessible to working parents. Thanks to hard-working business owners like Heather Hudson, we’re 149 children closer to meeting that challenge.

For more about the ABC & LOL Child Care Center, visit www.facebook.com/ABC-LOL-Child-Care-Center, and for more about the Vermont SBDC, visit www.vtsbdc.org. To find your nearest SBDC, click here.