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Geniuses On Board day care: Financing struggles, followed by pandemic woes

Signature brokers, Chris Monsour and Peter Vanderkaay, were honored to be a part of Geniuses On Board Childcare, Inc. finding their new home in Southfield and we look forward to all that the future holds for them!

Deandrea Murray can remember the excitement she felt last year when she signed her closing deal on her dream day care center.  But the day care remained a dream for quite some time.

“When I first started the process of financing my building it was overwhelming,” said Murray, owner and CEO of Geniuses On Board Child Development & Learning Center in Southfield.  It took eight months for Murray to secure financing on the building.  “The original bank that I applied with denied me almost right away without any real reason why,” she said. “I can remember calling the agents of the building and telling them how my bank denied me and unfortunately I needed to withdraw my offer on the property.”

She thought that was the end of the journey. But while she was planning her next move, Murray received a phone call from her real estate agent.  “A week (later) the agent called back and said the property owners really felt my business was a good fit for the location and asked me to try again,” she said. “I was introduced to a broker who took over helping me get financed.”

Murray started off as the owner of an in-home day care center in the Berg-Lahser neighborhood in Southfield. She directed that center for eight years.  “I opened the new center (as) an expansion of my current program,” she said. “I purchased my building in February 2020 and by March 2020 the state shut down.”

The COVID-10 pandemic put a stop to all of her plans, she said.  Murray went from having a waiting list of 88 children to scrambling for enrollment.  “Everyone was now working from home or too afraid to put their children in any child care programs at the time,” she said.  Her declining enrollment also made it harder for Murray to qualify for many of the grants and loans that the state offered to child care owners during the pandemic.

“I did have access to some of the grants that were offered but because many of them were based on enrollment and because I was new, I did not have a ton of students to boost the amount of assistance I was able to receive,” she said.

A year later, as COVID-19 continues to spread, Geniuses On Board Child Development & Learning Center is beginning to see enrollment grow. The center is licensed for 103 students and has 46 students.

“My advice to any business owner is to be very mindful of unnecessary spending and don’t lose hope and continue to believe in your vision,” Murray said. “I pray one day our businesses will become successful and flourish once again.”


Posted By: Crain’s Detroit Business on April 4, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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