Sending a young child — or infant — to childcare is a reality faced by many working parents today. Three years ago, Angela Garrison found herself with limited choices for her two young daughters. In a leap of faith, she decided to become a both a small business owner, and childcare provider for her daughters and five other children. At Beansprouts, in Freeport, Maine, Angela incorporated things she was looking for: an emphasis on natural and organic food, an environmentally friendly space and a creative early childhood curriculum. Beansprouts opened its doors in July 2013 and in just over a year, has grown to 64 children enrolled with waiting lists for many programs. Beansprouts’ sucess speaks to Angela’s entreprenurial acumen, and a ready market.
“CEI was an instrumental partner in helping us launch Beansprouts. CEI provided considerably more than just financing. Art Stevens (CEI Loan & Investment Officer) asked tough questions and provided key resources to keep us on track, while maintaining a strategic outlook on our business.”
— Angela Garrison, Founder and Owner, BEANSPROUTS
CEI gave Beansprouts a $45,000 micro loan for equipment and general start-up expenses. That initial funding has proved invaluable both for Beansprouts and for local job creation: Beansprouts currently employs 13 full-time and 4 part-time staff members. Their full-time employees receive paid vacation.
“CEI has always had a focus on community childcare as part of our mission,” said Brad Swanson, Master Certified Business Counselor at the Maine Small Business Development Center at CEI, who helped Angela and her husband create a business plan. “Angela was incredibly diligent in researching and pulling together a model that fulfilled her goals. In addition, she was passionate about how to make the plan work. It was a perfect loan for CEI–a start-up with strong implementation, and a focus on diet, environment, and education.”
In the coming years, Beansprouts hopes to continue a trajectory of growth. “Whether we open another center, expand in Freeport, or franchise, you can expect to see our brand grow over the next few years,” said Angela.