Community Service through Small Business

Church Childcare is the only licensed child care facility in Walkertown, NC. When they wanted to expand to serve more kids and create more jobs, they turned to Pinnacle for help.

Theressa Stephens decided it was time to follow her dream.

She had always known her true calling was to serve the kids and families in her community of Walkertown, NC. She had even spent her high school and college years working in child care. But she felt the more practical decision was to pursue her business degree and a career in finance. She was successful, but she hadn’t found nearly the same sense of fulfillment she got from helping kids.

So Theressa put everything aside to start caring for kids in her home. Walkertown had no formal childcare facility, just a network of small, homebased businesses. She started small, too, first with two kids she knew, then moving up to a class of eight. As word got around, more parents came calling, and pretty soon there was a waiting list.

She hired employees, upgraded her license and started looking for a bigger building. All the while, more and more parents came to her door, looking for a safe, nurturing place for their young children to spend their days.

Her first facility was a huge success. Over the course of a decade, Church Childcare developed a stellar reputation and a waitlist that kept growing. So eventually, Theressa had another decision to make.

“We talked about expanding, but I was pretty content where I was” she said. “We had almost all our debt paid off, and I wasn’t sure about starting again and taking on the responsibility of another phase. But at the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about meeting the needs of our families and our community. They need employment, and they need a safe place to send their kids.”

Enter Stan Lamb and Pinnacle.

Stan works in the SBA office, handling Small Business Administration loans. The SBA is a federal agency designed to help American businesses start, grow and succeed. Church Childcare was a perfect candidate.

“We knew how important Church Childcare was to Walkertown, so we did everything we could to help her get the financing she needed to serve more families,” Stan said. “SBA loans are guaranteed by the government, so the equity and collateral requirements are a little easier for small business owners like Theressa to deal with, and the monthly payments are more manageable.”

It wasn’t a short process, but Stan and his team worked with Theressa at every step to get it done right.

“From the very beginning, they were patient and helpful, walking me through the process,” Theressa said. “They reviewed my business plan, connected me with attorneys and CPAs who could help us grow and got us where we needed to be to get the money.”

Now construction is fully underway on a second building – directly across the street from the first – that will allow them to take in more children and give them more places to play with a full gym and recreation spaces.

“The kids love watching the construction. They point across the street and say, ‘That’s Miss Ressa’s castle!’ It always makes me smile, but I remind them that no, it’s not. It’s their castle. It’s for them.”