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|Business center proves useful for Clacks|
Elizabeth and Jeremy Clack both had successful careers working for Harrison & Associates.
So they never imagined they would one day venture into the daycare business.
But when their son's daycare shut down, they were left with no place to send their 2-year-old toddler. They searched for a new daycare, but none of the facilities with openings met their satisfaction. That's when they decided to start their own.
The Clacks said the daunting task was made easier with help from the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
They took a six-week program sponsored by the development center on how to start and operate a daycare center.
"The classes were phenomenal," said Elizabeth Clack. "They covered every aspect of the daycare operation from licensing to health department regulations. Also, the LSBDC brought in representatives from various state agencies to talk to us."
LSBDC consultant Eugenie Goodwin helped the Clacks develop financial projections to make sure the couple's business plan worked on paper. The Clacks also took other entrepreneurial training courses to learn new managerial skills.
"The small business development center really assisted us with the homework of opening a business," Jeremy Clack said. "They helped us formulate financial plans and three-year projections which were priceless when it came time to approach a lender."
The Clacks spent a year doing their "homework" before buying an old restaurant in the Swartz community. Jeremy Clack and his father labored every evening and weekend, gutting and remodeling the 20-year-old facility. Jeremy Clack dropped out of his college night classes to finish the remodeling project.
In May 2007, Doodle Bugs Child Development Center opened its doors, employing 11 full-time employees and four part-time workers. Within its first year, Doodle Bugs reached full-capacity with 63 students ages six weeks to 12 years.
The Clacks' daycare includes a special curriculum developed for their center called "Playful Learning." It incorporates hands-on learning with classes in music, gymnastics, computers and even etiquette.
The Clacks encourage people who aspire to own their own business to learn more about the services offered by the small business development center.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center provides low- or no-cost guidance and training for small business owners and potential owners. Part of a statewide network supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Louisiana Economic Development and host universities, the LSBDC serves Louisiana businesses through confidential counseling, group training and business information resources. The center serves Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union and West Carroll parishes.
For more information about the center and its services, call 342-1224.