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Growing a Child Care Center with Quality Transportation – The Sprouts Story

Carolyn Davenport and Kelly Turley take delivery of Sprouts’ first Thomas MyBus.

If you live in the High Point, N.C., area, you’ve probably noticed some adorable buses traveling around town. With a fun color scheme and a load of little ones, Sprouts’ Thomas Built buses have been turning heads. In fact, just four years after opening its doors, the preschool and child care center has now reached maximum capacity, and is actively looking for a larger facility. So how did quality transportation contribute to their rapid growth? We talked to the owners to get a little more insight on the Sprouts story.

 

Sprouting into Business

When the idea for Sprouts was born, owners Carolyn Davenport and Kelly Turley were both working full-time as elementary school teachers; Carolyn in the classroom, and Kelly in the gym as a P.E. coach. They loved their jobs, but had a vision for a place where young students could experience enriching and fun activities all year long. Together, they opened Sprouts in May 2011, which has now evolved into a sought-after preschool, continuing to offer an array of other services including after-school care, summer camps, weekend events, birthday parties, and more.

Making it Mobile

Kelly said that offering high-quality transportation was always part of the plan for Sprouts, but she and Carolyn were initially unsure of the expense involved.

“We started out with an older bus, but knew we wanted something safer, more reliable, and more eye-catching,” she said. “We were super excited when we had the funds to upgrade, but quickly realized that finding a bus provider who could meet our needs might be a challenge.”

Kelly and Carolyn called all over, and even considered traveling to Chicago to visit a dealer that seemed reputable. Little did they know, Carolina Thomas was right in their backyard, with the bus and service they were seeking.

“When we started working with Carolina Thomas, we knew immediately that we had found the right partner,” Kelly explained. “Their buses had more safety features than any we’d seen, their prices were right, and we knew we would be taken care of if a service need came up down the road.”

Committed to Quality

According to Kelly and Carolyn, the Sprouts team is thrilled that more growth is on the horizon. But until they find a new facility to meet their needs, enrollment is capped.

“It’s more important for us to keep our class sizes small and maintain quality than to grow extremely fast,” they said. “For now, we are adding names to our waiting list and hoping the right property comes available.”

Most child care professionals would agree – growing to capacity in just four years is an impressive feat. Kelly and Carolyn wholeheartedly agree that their Thomas Built MyBuses have contributed to their positive reputation as a fun and safe environment for young learners.

“We use our buses every single day; during the academic year for preschool field trips and to pick up students for after-school care, and during the summers for camps and special events,” Kelly said. “People who spot us on the road constantly call to inquire about services or just to tell us how cute our bus looks!”

Carolina Thomas produced and installed Sprouts colorful graphics, which were designed in close collaboration with Kelly and Carolyn. The graphics not only provide high visibility in the community, but help students quickly identify their ride after school.

“When we see other child care buses at pick-up, they often look old and tired,” Kelly said. “Our buses are loaded with the latest safety features, appealing to the eye, and a major source of pride for our business.”

Sprouts purchased their first Thomas Built MyBus in November 2013, followed by a second in June 2014, and another in August 2014.

“The kids absolutely LOVE riding in our buses,” Kelly stated. “There are features we love like the AC and CD player for KidsBop singalongs, but the safety features are the most important components of all.”

Sprouts’ Thomas MyBus fleet is equipped with STAR 5-point restraints, providing maximum safety for super-small travelers, as well as seat belts and number of crash-protection features.

The Safest Child Care Buses

When carrying precious cargo, safety has to be a top priority. But your child care center also needs an affordable solution, and a team of bus professionals that are there for you long after the sale. Thomas Built Buses’ safety ratings are among the highest in the industry, and Carolina Thomas can work with you to find the vehicle to meet your transportation needs. Sprouts has experienced firsthand the value of investing in reliable buses with a reputable full-service provider. We hope you’ll give us a call too.

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