PEAS IN A POD CHILD CARE
Childcare Loan Program Helps Center Double Capacity & Find Fulfillment
Misty Filer was working as a loan officer at a credit union when she felt a pull to spend more time with their then two-year old daughter. The idea of having an income while spending time with her child was appealing, and she could accomplish both through a childcare business.
Filer began her journey to open Peas In a Pod Child Care, a center based in Cheyenne. As the business picked up, so did the waiting list, which continued to grow. Filer realized that she and the center had gotten more and more connected with the community and families, and wanted to expand her facility to accommodate them.
“The main reason we began this business is because it felt good in our hearts,” said Filer. So she made the decision to expand her labor of love, and approached a bank for a loan for an expansion. She was declined.
“The banks were hesitant to help me,” said Filer. “It’s hard to show an income when you have a childcare center because a lot of the profit is taken with expenses and overhead.”
But she continued to search for another funding option, and came across a posting by the Department of Family Services, pointing her in the direction of the Wyoming Women’s Business Center.
After meeting with the WWBC, Peas In a Pod received financial assistance through the “Childcare Loan Program”, which was a result of a Community Development Block Grant through the Wyoming Business Counsel. The Wyoming Business Council awarded he Wyoming Women’s Business Center with the contract. The program is intended for non-profit and for-profit child care operators to improve their facilities, increase their capacities and create jobs. Funds are intended to be used for facility improvements to increase capacities or meet licensing requirements.
The loan to Peas In a Pod, in total of $13,000, was submitted, underwritten and closed by the WWBC, written at 3% interest rate, payable over 6 years. Peas In a Pod was required to maintain and/or create jobs, make timely payments, and provide the WWBC with annual financial information. Requirements were met at the end of 3 years, and half of the original loan amount was forgiven as a grant.
“The help and support through the loan application process was amazing,” said Filer. “No financial institution would even consider providing my small business with a loan, let alone making half of it into a grant.”
The loan was used for a facility expansion from 4,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet, and also provided new flooring installation, electrical work required to meet rules and licensing standards, and a pull fire alarm system. The expansion allowed Peas In a Pod to serve an additional 30 families in the Cheyenne area, with the potential to increase the care center to a larger capacity if needed at a later date. It has currently resulted in the creation of 3 additional full-time jobs, increasing staff from 15 to 18 employees.
“The expansion has allowed us to really spread out,” said Filer. “Now we are able to offer a Kindergarten readiness program.
“It has been a remarkable journey for me, and amazing that the Wyoming Women’s Business Center was by my side to help me accomplish my goals as a small business.”