When you open the door into Blueprints Early Learning Center in Lebanon, it is clearly a place where love abounds. Some children are busy with projects, others listening intently to a story read by one of the teachers and more are just waking up from naps. The infant room for little ones has two teachers and while some babies sleep, others are awake and being cuddled and fed.
It is evident that the children are enjoying every minute and the staff provides a circle of calm and caring that make this the town’s number one full-service child care center. Blueprints was founded by Jennie Clavel in her own home just around the corner from Lebanon’s elementary school. With a BA in Early Childhood Education and extensive experience in providing childcare, she realized that there was a real need she could meet for parents and children in her fast-growing community. Her husband Anthony shared her vision and the two worked to make the business a success.
When their waiting list grew to over seventy-five families, they knew they were ready to grow the business exponentially. But that meant designing and building a new building next door 100% devoted to quality childcare. Reaching out to Southern Maine Finance Agency (SMFA), Jennie identified Bangor Savings Bank as a lender willing to work with her and SMFA to deliver the financing for a new building. Opened in August 2017, Blueprints now is staffed by eight specialists and accommodates eighty-nine children–some for ½ days, some for full days and some for just before and after school care. Now that waiting list is closer to fifty-five.
“I had a hard time understanding why some of the first financial institutions would not look at my success and my track record to provide a loan for the new building,” says Jennie. “But SMFA never let me get discouraged and urged me not to give up on my dream. In the end, SMFA’s enthusiasm and financial support helped put together the deal. Just 18 months after we moved in, we are already expanding into a new addition designed specifically for infants.”