In 2006, Maggie Gasner established Weebleworld Child Care Center in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Weebleworld provides full time care to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Weebleworld has partnered with the Stoughton School District to offer 4K learning. Services also include infant and toddler care, before and after school opportunities and summer camp.
With a growing wait list, Maggie made the decision to build her own facility in 2012. Partnering with WBD and the State Bank of Cross Plains, she took advantage of the SBA 504 loan, with a low down payment and long-term, low interest rates. With the new facility, she nearly doubled her capacity and expanded her services to an after school program and 4k. Fast forward to 2020, with Weebleworld's services in such high demand, Maggie opened a second location. And having such a good experience previously with the SBA 504, she utilized it again, and from the sounds of it, was very glad she did.
WBD: Can you tell us about your business – how it started, keys to success, challenges?
"Weebleworld Child Care Center began in 2006 with in-home care, taking care of nine children with only three teachers. We quickly grew by word of mouth thanks to our amazing, reputable teaching team. Our teachers have always been our keys to success. My job is to do everything I possibly can to take care of my team because they take care of the children. Happy teachers = happy kids! That's been our philosophy from day one. We've had our share of challenges, especially during the first few years when we had to borrow money to make payroll, but we're proud of how far we've come since then. We rented our first facility in 2007 and in 2012, we moved to our very own location, thanks to help from WBD, State Bank of Cross Plains and the SBA 504 program. We expanded last year in 2020 to our second location, using the same process. We're so grateful to have the financial support necessary to continue providing high quality child care options to our community."
WBD: What projects, both real estate and equipment, has WBD and namely the SBA 504 program worked with you on and how has it enabled you to meet your expansion goals – production, new products, better serve customers?
"Without the help of WBD, we would not have been able to grow our business the way we have. We would likely have been stuck renting forever and not building any equity. We continue to grow (building number three is currently in the works!) and it's all possible because of the guidance from WBD and the SBA 504 program. Having the ability to design, construct and furnish high quality facilities for children is made possible thanks to these programs."
WBD: Did you have a good experience working with WBD? Would you work with us again?
"The team at WBD, specifically Nick Drewsen, is super responsive, helpful and understanding throughout the entire process. WBD will always be my go-to for future expansion projects."
WBD: What have been your keys to success so far – employees, timing, hard work? Challenges?
"Our keys to success over the past 15 years have been hard work and dedication. Failure was never an option for us so we were scrappy, made sacrifices and supported one another when times got tough. My personal philosophy is "find a way or make a way" and that's really kept me driven. We've also been fortunate to find some amazing, experienced teachers for our team. They make all the difference when it comes to the child care business. In the service industry, word of mouth is huge and we've been fortunate that we've never really had to advertise our business. We stay full with waiting lists because of our strong, loving team and what we're able to provide for families!"
WBD: Do you have any advice for other business owners in taking that next step to growing their business?
"My advice to other business owners is to find a way or make a way. If you want something bad enough, you have to keep pushing until you find what works. When I first started out, I met with lender after lender until I found someone that would take a chance on me. Owning your business will never be easy but if it's your passion, it will definitely be worth it!"
Congratulations and thank you to Maggie Gasner for Weebleworld's success and partnership in working with WBD and State Bank of Cross Plains. We wish you the best of luck and thank you for sharing your experience with us. For our readers, please visit https://weebleworld.com/ for more information. And remember to support your local small businesses.