January 19, 2024
Kingfield Kinder Care
When Jackie Lobdell’s children were young, she couldn’t find daycare fitting the hours she needed.
The nearby child care was closed Fridays and closed half the day on Mondays. “It did not work for my schedule and it was 20 minutes away from my house. So it’s almost like I had to backtrack to get to it,” she said. She resorted to working nights, with her husband working days. After nearly nine years, Jackie switched to day shifts at Poland Spring Bottling when their youngest started school.
Now the owner of Kingfield Kinder Care, open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Jackie hears from parents who can take day shifts or full-time jobs at Sugarloaf and BlueTriton because of her extended hours.
“I’ve always wanted to have a daycare. Actually I did get my license for a childcare center when my son was 2; he’s 26 now. But I backed out because I was kind of scared. And that’s why I took the plunge with the CEI Child Care Business Lab.”
Kingfield Kinder Care is housed in a mobile home that Jackie rented out after she and her family moved to their new house on the same property. “Instead of renting it out, we decided to just take it over for the child care business,” she said.
With support from the CEI Child Care Business Lab, Jackie created her curriculum and wrote her business plan. “I just had the basic stuff to open up,” she said. “They helped me build up my contract and build up the policies that I needed for my daycare – to care for children and deal with parents. I also learned how to do a cash flow forecast for three years. It helped me do a lot of stuff.”
One of Kingfield Kinder Care’s unique offerings is part-time enrollment. “Most daycares have a three-day/week mandatory minimum. But some kids are with me for one day, others for two to three. “It depends on their needs,” she said. Her “small center” license allows up to 12 children at any given time; she has 19 enrolled. “We’ve got to juggle around the schedule. It was hard at the beginning, but now I’ve got it down pat,” she said. With CEI’s help, she’s pursuing grant funding to expand her capacity to 24 slots. “I could fill that up tomorrow. It’s a big demand.” Knowing their children are safe with her, more parents are available for local employment.
Adding kids means adding employees. Kingfield Kinder Care currently is a family business: Jackie’s husband and sister work full time, and two adult sons and their girlfriends substitute as needed. Jackie is looking forward to hiring new child care teacher in the next few months.
Former co-workers were surprised when Jackie left her job at the bottling plant after 15 years. “They all call me crazy because I left a job with five weeks’ paid vacation, $24 per hour. But I love it. I’m my own person.” And her business is thriving. “It’s a lot to take in, but it’s worth it for me. I really enjoy the kids.”
Jackie stays in touch with CEI business advisors, especially when she needs help finding grants and other things. “Any questions I have, they are always quick to jump and answer. I still keep in contact with all of them.”
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