I wanted to fill you in on our latest venture, the daycare preschool we are opening. My friend Sid worries about burn out and the stress of running a child care center. Monica ran a day care for two years, and was a child care teacher for eight years. For a number of years she worked at a day care called Happy Kids while I worked at a nursery called Happy Frog. We always found it interesting that we both worked at nurseries with "happy" in the name. Both of us are aware of the stress and tensions that are involved in daycare. It's a lot like the stress in the nursery during spring. The difference is the stress at the daycare is year round. Of course that's why we are interested in it. Year round income as opposed to the up's and down's of the nursery. There comes a time when cutting back on expenses just doesn't cut it. You have to increase revenue. While normally the Fall would be a boost to sales, this year it's a mild boost. Here in California the housing price decline has affected sales more than the banking problems. I talked to a fellow the other day who is walking away from a $600,000 house in The Bay Area. They cannot sell it!
We decided that starting a new business that seems to be needed here was a smart move.Â Sid is concerned that we are getting involved in a business we don't know enough about. Don't worry Sid, we have been through this before. The long hours and wild kids. I will say though that in the dark of winter I will do a dance of joy when I see the daycare filled with light and kids, while the plant nursery is covered in frost. Monica is excited about the possibilities and we are no strangers to long hours and repetitive tasks.
Shirley's comment's are right on when it comes to what we are trying to achieve. We are serious about the need for educating kids about the environment and gardening. The parents of the children we will care for are from Generation X and Y. These are the generations we in the nursery industry worry about being non-gardeners. I believe Gen. X and Y feel they didn't get a chance to learn about, and enjoy the garden. They will be excited that their children are learning about nature and will want us to continue the process as the kids get older. Get the children interested and they will drag the parents to "their nursery".
There is also the case of plant nursery burn-out. I would say it's just as easy to become burned out at the garden center as the day care.Â It all comes down to attitude. We are all having to make decisions that we wish we didn't have to make. The times call for it. The difference between those that will weather the storm and those that won't is "attitude". You cannot wait around and hope next year will be the magic spring. What happens if California goes into a serious drought next year, which is quite possible? Sure, we will do our best to maximize the possibilities, but having all our eggs in one basket makes it harder. Some garden centers have maintenance accounts that are more or less steady. Others do landscaping. We are opening another nursery. For some reason we are good at raising young things. My youngest daughter will be helping mom full time in the day care. She was raised by Monica at the day care where she worked. We go forward with our eyes wide open.
Our last venture, The Happy Frog Garden Center was started in the middle of the last recession. No one was opening anything and I thought it was a good sign that we we're boldly starting a new business then. It grew to become one of Northern California's leading garden centers. Remember that Google was started during the dot com crash. What about garden centers with Cafes? Who would have thought that would work? Garden Centers that sell wine? Garden Centers with a grocery store attached? Garden Centers that have pet centers (Bone Bar)? Garden Centers that sell high end jewelry? All those are being done as we speak. Why not a Garden Center with a kid nursery?
Those of us that keep a steady hand on the wheel, chart a good course, and have fun all the while, will weather the storm and find safe harbor.