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Single Mom Resolves Common Parent’s Dilemma

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Dana Oliver, a single mom raising a two year old daughter, found herself with the typical dilemma faced by many working parents – how to meet the after 5 p.m. demands of her job, particularly when daycares closed at 6 p.m. In her male-dominated brokerage industry, inflexibility was simply snubbed at.

As she struggled with work/life balance, Dana turned to her sister, a stay-at-home mom raising four kids, for answers. Her sister confirmed that babysitters were her only option because she would never leave her children in a “drop-in” center. Dana, armed with this new concept, turned to the Internet for research and discovered that drop-in centers were closing down because they were dirty, kids weren’t having fun and there was no staff/child interaction. Dana started wondering if the concept could work if she created an environment kids didn’t want to leave and gave parents peace of mind.

So, in 2003, Dana left her six-figure job with a dream to create a more balanced life-style for herself and her daughter. She moved from Houston to Dallas to manage a drop-in center and study the concept more in-depth. Soon after, she knew exactly the type of environment she wanted to create and she called it Adventure Kids Playcare.

The next step involved overcoming the skepticism of family and friends who thought she was taking a big risk by starting a business as a single mom. And, the government didn’t take her single status lightly either. They told her she couldn’t get an SBA loan because she wasn’t married and didn’t have a second income to fall back on. Banks just snubbed at her idea.

Fortunately, as a former financial advisor, Dana wasn’t shy about asking for money, and she tapped friends and family for $175,000 in loans. That, combined with her own personal savings, allowed her to open her first location in Flower Mound, Texas.

With Adventure Kids Playcare, Dana created a fun and safe environment for kids ages 6 weeks to 12 years with supervision as late as midnight on weekends. Parents can drop off their kids, with no advance notice for as many hours as needed, to enjoy up to 4,500 sq. ft. of fun, including Xbox games, a gigantic wooden boat which doubles as a jungle gym, a karaoke stage, a mini movie theatre, high-fashion dress-up clothes and much more. And on the weekends, continuously-changing theme nights like Fiesta (with piñatas, maraca- and fruit salsa-making) and Western Hoedown (with stick horse making, horse shoe playing and s’mores) keep children happy and entertained.

In 2006, Dana turned her concept into a franchise after other parents approached her with their need to find work/life balance. Today, Adventure Kids Playcare has six locations in the North Texas region and a seventh slated to open in June 2008. Adventure Kids Playcare will also be offering franchise opportunities in the Austin and Houston markets soon.