At the South Dakota SBA Small Business Week celebration in May, Beth Hanna of Building Blocks Childcare and Learning Center, LLC, was honored as the 2017 South Dakota Small Business Person of the Year. Building Blocks Childcare & Learning Center, LLC, in Brandon, South Dakota, is owned and operated by Beth Hanna.
Owning and operating her own childcare center had been a lifelong dream of Beth Hanna’s. Before opening the doors to Building Blocks Childcare and Learning Center in June, 2011, Beth was previously an in-home daycare provider and had worked in all capacities in various childcare centers. With assistance from the SBA 7(a) guarantee program on two different occasions, Beth leased space and Building Blocks opened with 50 children in June, 2011. By year end, the center was at maximum capacity and had a waiting list for every age group. After turning away three to five families a week, Beth realized the need to expand. In 2013, Beth received her first SBA 504 loan to purchase the facility they were currently utilizing. With another SBA 504 loan in 2014, a new building was constructed and the Building Blocks School Age Center opened in August, 2014. The “original” building continues to be certified for 150 children from the ages of four weeks to five years old. The “school age” building is licensed for 105 children ranging from ages five to twelve years old, and includes a regulation-sized basketball court and outside age-appropriate playground equipment. Between the two buildings, there is a total of 26,600 square feet of space serving 255 children in Building Block’s care, provided by 45 employees.
Building Blocks Childcare and Learning Center is a one stop childcare center for children ages four weeks to twelve years old. The mission statement of Building Blocks – “To provide exceptional care, nurture, and age appropriate learning opportunities in a safe, loving, environment through the dedicated efforts of qualified owners, management and staff, whose concern is for the welfare of the children entrusted in their care” – is a direct correlation to Beth’s entrepreneurial spirit. Beth Hanna and Building Blocks is meeting a need not being met in most South Dakota communities; lack of availability for infant care and before and after school care for children over five years old. In addition to providing a safe and loving environment for the children in their care, Beth has many educational goals for the Center. It is a goal of the Center’s to have certified teachers in every classroom and those teachers have lesson plans on a daily basis. Building Blocks provides a lot of “extras” that other childcare facilities do not offer, such as field trips and swimming lessons. The Center also transports the school age children to and from school with their own busses, as Beth and a few of her employees have their commercial driver’s licenses.
First District Development Company was honored to nominate Beth Hanna of Building Blocks Childcare and Learning Center for the Small Business Person of the Year and assist Beth on two SBA 504 loans.