2014 ROSWELL SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER CLIENT OF THE YEAR.
Learning Ladder Early Childcare Education Center, LLC held its grand opening on August 29, 2013 at 1709 W. Grand Ave, Artesia. The mission is to provide childcare for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old with a full day, year round educational program that meets the developmental needs of each child. There is a new name on the sign and an updated facility, but the same dedicated staff continues to serve the families of Artesia. In October of 1996, Lori Sarabia began employment at Kids Count Day Care Center, which became Lil’Dogs 3 years later. She became the center’s Director in 2007. When the business was threatened with closure she decided to purchase the business. At the time there were only 3 day care centers in Artesia. With assistance from the Small Business Development Center at ENMU-Roswell, Lori began the purchase process. Lori demonstrated the commitment to her vision and the families she serves in what turned out to be a 15 month process. Lori overcame issues of state and federal tax liens, clouded real-estate titles, and a complex regulatory environment. Lori persisted, held to her ethical values, obtained an SBA 7A loan, and purchased the business. Eight jobs were saved. Lori reports: “After going to many banks and hearing they would not consider a loan because of the tax issues I was discouraged. Meeting with the SBDC in Roswell I finally found an open door. Carl helped me tremendously. When I had questions he took the time to explain the answer. Without Carl and the SBDC program it would not have been possible for me to purchase the daycare. I am grateful that this program was available to me.” Currently, the center serves 53 families and 76 children. Lori continues to improve the facility and increase capacity to serve the 23 families now on the waiting list.