Children’s Kastle, Lancaster, NY

Children's Kastle

Acquiring an existing company is a great way to become a small business owner, and that’s just what Darlene Bartlett did in 2001, when her mentor and employer of more than five years offered to sell, Children’s Kastle, a child daycare and preschool, in Lancaster, NY, to her. Darlene assumed ownership of the business right away, but negotiated a lease-to-own agreement for the building and land with the original owner.

Darlene worked diligently to grow the business, ultimately opening a second location to offer services to school-aged children. When the time was right to acquire the building, she approached her long-time bank, KeyBank, to fund the real estate acquisition and a number of renovations, including the creation of a new classroom and upgrades to lighting, office space and the staff area. KeyBank was eager to provide a large portion of the loan but preferred to partner with another lender to finance the full project. So, Darlene’s banker pulled in Pursuit.

“One thing I learned is to let funders help you with the challenges,” explains Darlene. Together, KeyBank and Pursuit approved Children’s Kastle for $828,000, including a Capital Access loan for $368,000, enabling Darlene to close on and update the property.

“Sometimes the [loan] process is a little overwhelming,” she continues, “but ultimately, we were funded with terrific rates and terms, which allows us to offer so much more to our parents and children.”

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