Kid's Kingdom in business twelve years thanks to business planning assistance from SCORE

Ed and Debbie Sullivan have been operating Kid's Kingdom, a pre-school day care center, for 10 years. Debbie held a management position with a major oil company for many years. As she traveled around the country in her corporate job, she dreamed of someday operating her own daycare center. While working in the corporate world, Debbie's love for children drove her to make time to work part time at day care centers. She also was a licensed foster care parent. 

In December 1996, fate played a helping hand in allowing Debbie's dream to become a reality. A serious auto accident kept her at home for months. Debbie had plenty of time to develop her plan. She called the Small Business Administration seeking assistance and was introduced to Jerry Moran, a SCORE counselor who helped Debbie and her husband Ed develop a business plan and the financial statements she would need to seek financing for her business. SCORE: Counselors to America's Small Business, a resource partner of the SBA, is a non-profit organization of volunteers with extensive business experience. These volunteers give their time to assist entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a small business. 

After weeks of writing and re-writing, Debbie and Ed approached First Bank and Trust Company, now The Washington Trust Company. With their SBA-guaranteed loan, Kid's Kingdom opened its doors for the first time in late 1997. The loan was used to purchase and make needed renovations to a former restaurant building on Puritan Avenue in Cranston. Debbie said being able to pay off their loan early was a big accomplishment that resulted in better cash flow in their business. 

"If it wasn't for the Small Business Administration and SCORE, we would not be where we are today," Debbie said. 

Debbie and Ed immediately began the application process to become a fully licensed pre-school and daycare facility. 

Kid's Kingdom started with one child and one teacher. From those humble beginnings, the staff has grown to 12 and there are nearly 70 children enrolled in the infant, pre-school, full time day care, and after school programs. Nearly all of the children enrolled in the center's program are referred by parents who have children enrolled at Kid's Kingdom. 

Debbie said she includes families in as many activities as possible and will do anything to accommodate parents. Kid's Kingdom has hosted Easter egg hunts, Thanksgiving feasts, Valentine's Day dances, Breakfast with Santa, and other activities to bring families together. 

To accommodate the growing enrollment, Kid's Kingdom expanded to the second floor of the building six years ago. Four years ago, at considerable cost, the Sullivans added an outdoor playground that was placed on poured in rubber for added safety. They plan to add the rubberized surface in the toddler's playground within the year. 

The state approved the addition of an infant program two years ago, which required hiring a full time nurse to be on duty every day. 

Debbie said there is a definite need for this type of service since many moms go back to work while their children are infants and are in need of quality day care. Kid's Kingdom now accepts children at four months of age and they can remain enrolled at the facility through age 12. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE: Counselors to America's Small Business presented the 2008 Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence to Deborah and Edward Sullivan, owners of Kid's Kingdom in Cranston.