Owner Spotlight: Sarah Bowie at Discovery Point Lexington Oaks
Sarah Bowie was living in Atlanta, commuting an hour each day to her entry-level marketing job, when one of her colleagues told her she was leaving to open a childcare facility. Weeks after Sarah heard the news, she found herself still thinking about her friend’s decision to go out on her own. Sarah had been interested in doing something different and finding a new career, and this news was just the inspiration she needed. Meanwhile, Sarah’s parents were retiring that year, and they were looking to leverage that into something more.
After hearing what her friend, now the owner of Discovery Point Sugar Hill, was doing, Sarah began to research franchising opportunities – including Discovery Point. Education had always been important to her, but it wasn’t necessarily on her radar when it came to this new adventure. She worked with her parents and husband to sift through all the franchise opportunities available and eventually chose Discovery Point because of its low franchising fee and turnkey model. The knowledge that someone she knew had already succeeded with the same franchise helped solidify her and her family’s decision even more.
With strong family support, Sarah and her parents opened Discovery Point Lexington Oaks in September of 2009. The center has experienced great success in the Wesley Chapel, Fla. area. It’s a bustling hub of activity, with infants, toddlers and preschoolers engaging in a fun, educational childcare environment on a daily basis.
Sarah and her mother, Jane, work together to run their center and her father handles the accounting and bookkeeping.
“It is a partnership. We work on all of the big-picture items together, and from there, I delegate between myself and our directors,” explains Sarah. The childcare center is more than just a family-run business. Sarah also sent her two children to Discovery Point, and they both attend the center’s summer camp.
Before she owned her own business, Sarah’s job did not provide a good work/life balance, which was something she was searching for with her career.
“For me, the biggest benefit is the flexibility,” she says. “I was able to start and raise my family here and they were able to be with me throughout the process.”
But it wasn’t just the ability to create her own schedule that led Sarah and her family to choose Discovery Point. They were looking for a company that was already successful and could provide them guidance.
“Discovery Point provides a lot of background knowledge, and a foundation for you to work with. That is exactly what we were looking for when starting this adventure,” Sarah adds.
Though owning her own business gives Sarah the ability to create her own schedule, she still spends her days at her center. She works to stay knowledgeable on changes within the childcare industry and early childhood education, and leads her team as she works alongside her directors.
“I’m here every day. I act as a sounding board and we bounce ideas off of each other,” says Sarah.
To Sarah, the most enjoyable part of owning a Discovery Point is the pride she feels in offering such a high quality of care and education. “It is a joy to get to know the families and the kids that come here. We know that we are providing an excellent service. Parents are able to leave their kids in a caring and happy environment,” says Sarah. “That makes me feel really good.”
Since the beginning, it has been a focus of Sarah and her team to make sure they are running their center well.
“It became important to me to set ourselves apart from other childcare facilities,” continues Sarah. “We know our families and we are part of the community with them. We have become more than just the place they drop their kids off.”