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Kabbage Customers, Small Business Spotlight

Small Business Spotlight: Jenn’s Junction Preschool


 
Kabbage spoke with Anita Iaco from Jenn’s Junction Preschool to learn about her experience opening and operating the school. Anita and her daughter Jenn opened the preschool together after Jenn graduated with a degree in early education. Jenn didn’t want to limit herself to a single classroom, so she decided to open the school with her mother. Anita’s background in marketing and love for children combined with Jenn’s expertise in education made the two a perfect fit for their respective roles at the preschool.

The pair started the preschool in 2013. As the business manager, Anita writes the checks, deals with expenses and manages general finances. Jenn is the director, working with the teachers, creating the curriculum and coordinating with the parents. Jenn’s Junction employs 17 teachers, and there are 110 families enrolled in the school. Many of the children, however, are part time; they come only in the mornings, or they may only attend school a few days a week. On its busiest days, the school has up to 85 children.

When Anita is not working behind the scenes as the business manager, she enjoys spending time with the kids. Specifically, she enjoys doing experiments with the students and reading stories. Time she has spent with the children also inspired her to write her own book, Let’s Vote! A Fruitful Election Tale, which is a story meant to help children understand how elections work. She published it in the hopes that teachers would read it to their students and start conversations about elections.

“I would go to the local general store and get a container of worms, and I would bring it back and dump it on the table for me and the kids to look at,” Anita tells us. These moments are what Anita loves most about working at the preschool even though they aren’t necessarily included in her everyday job description.

Today, Jenn’s Junction Preschool is very successful. They have filled the classrooms and are doing great, Anita says. However, there are still many expenses that they must deal with: paying rent and utilities, maintenance bills and teacher salaries, among many other costs.

“Every time we get close to earning a profit and being able to pay back some debt, some other bills come up,” Anita tells us. She says that there always seems to be something else that needs “patching or doing.”

The main challenge that Jenn and Anita face is a dip in income during the summer months due to a drop in enrollment. Several of the students’ parents are teachers, and therefore they take their children out of school during the summer because that is when they have time off. The preschool struggles in these summer months to pay all their regular expenses with lower earnings. From this difficulty, they have learned to be better prepared for their summer expenses.

Kabbage entered the picture in the spring of 2016. Jenn’s Junction Preschool normally pays their teachers twice a month, but in this season, the weeks fell so that there were three paydays in one month. Because parents only pay tuition once a month, it looked as if Anita and Jenn were in trouble. Of all their expenses, the one that they refuse to fall behind on is paying their staff. They needed a way to cover the cost.

Months earlier, Anita had received an email from Kabbage, so when she went to search on the Internet for ways to acquire more funding and Kabbage popped up in the search results, she was already familiar with the company. She decided to apply for a line of credit and was relieved when she received one. She immediately used it to cover payroll, paying back the amount a few weeks later.

Through this process, she learned she could trust Kabbage to help her out when she needed it.

“They’ve come in so that we never miss a beat,” Anita says of Kabbage. She is grateful to know that we are always there to support the school for any expenses they may have.

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Lizabeth Frohwein

Lizabeth Frohwein in an intern in the People Operations department at Kabbage. She recently graduated high school and will be attending Northwestern University in the fall. She is planning on majoring in English Literature.