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Alexandria

Discovery Time
Learning Center

Stephanie Harris

Learning on the Go A second property is now on the agenda for Discovery Time. The
additional location will make room for more families currently on a
Stephanie Harris began planning the child daycare center she waiting list. “We started with 20 kids, and now we’re at 85,” Harris
opened in 2014 while still in high school. Profitable its first year of says. “Currently the staff is at 23.”
operation, Harris’ Discovery Time Learning Center in Alexandria Harris hasn’t forgotten that the SBDC is the place that helped
had revenues exceeding $1 million in 2015 and anticipates an make it happen. “I recommend the SBDC one hundred percent,”
increase to $1.2 million in 2016. she concludes. “The one-on-one attention the SBDC provides is
“Having my own daycare center was a dream I’ve had since I remarkable.”
was 15 years old,” says Harris. She was part of a comprehensive
early childhood program for three years while in high school. The business opened
Continuing to make plans, Harris went to the Alexandria in 2014 with a profit
SBDC in 2011 for advice while pursuing her Master’s in Special the first year; revenues
Education at George Mason University and working as a middle exceeded $1 million in
school teacher. “I needed something to hold me over,” she 2015 and are expected to
explains. “My goal was to open a daycare operation for 75 to 100 be $1.2 million in 2016.
children in the Del Ray area of Alexandria where there is a large They have also been able
millennial population,” Harris explains. “There continues to be
a demand for child daycare facilities there; all of the centers in to create 23 jobs.
operation now have waiting lists.”
As Harris continued to make plans, Alexandria SBDC Financial
Analyst Jack Parker introduced her to a successful daycare
operator in the area who became a mentor. “Most of my research
was learning on the go,” she says.
“The SBDC was a one-stop shop for me. They helped me with
everything,” Harris says. “I worked with Jack Parker on my
business plan, and he connected me with a real estate broker. It
took two years to find a location with room for a playground and
parking.” Parker also approached Eagle Bank, which eventually
approved the SBA 7(a) loan Harris was seeking.

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