New Childcare Center to Fill Need, Create Jobs
By Christian Livermore
Posted Nov. 7, 2008 @ 2:00 am
TOWN OF WALLKILL — Starting a business in the economy’s current weakened state might seem like a daunting prospect, but an Orange County couple is optimistic that their nascent child care center will grow and thrive nonetheless — and create 22 new jobs in the process.
Peggy and Eric Fuentes held a groundbreaking last week for On My Way Early Learning and Childcare on 4 acres in the Town of Wallkill, complete with the requisite dirt-shoveling and other pomp.
The Fuenteses began thinking about opening a center because the facilities where they took their own children were not meeting their needs.
“While our children were in very good centers, they just weren’t meeting the needs we had as parents in terms of hours and services,” Peggy Fuentes said.
The center, scheduled to open in March, will be licensed for up to 100 children.
Even though the Fuenteses started shopping for financing this year, when the economic downturn was already under way, a good credit score and their own money in the pot helped them get the money, Fuentes said.
Dan O’Brien, senior vice president of membership development and services for the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, applauded the center for helping to fill the area’s “enormous need” for child care services, and the 22 jobs it is expected to create.
“We’ve been very fortunate here in Orange County compared to New York state and even more so than other parts of the United States, but those jobs are important,” he said, “and as we go forward and as we will pull out of this economic downturn, those jobs will continue to grow.”
The Fuenteses will face competition from another childhood center opening nearby, but they feel they have the edge because of their services, which include family nights, when students and their families can socialize, and “date nights,” when parents can enjoy an evening out.
“We planned in our business plan that we will be slow, so we’re prepared for it,” Peggy Fuentes said. “I think the economy will turn around and with the industry and the new buildings going up, I think that we’ll be fine.”