Chris and Jessie Apple first met as teaching artists who wanted to create and produce music.
“Being in business was the furthest thing from both our minds until we met and realized we were both extremely hard workers with bigger ambitions than just working for someone else,” says Jessie.
Using pop and classic rock music, the duo formed their business (and community band) Little Rockers LLC to introduce children and adults to the joys of song and performance.
An educational philosophy built on music, joy and dreams
By piecing together their future ambitions and passions, Chris and Jessie found creative, fun ways to bring children and adults closer together.
“We fantasized about writing songs and creating our own class program, so that we could work together. This evolved into us wondering if we could really create our own business and make it a success,” Chris adds.
With hard work and a little bit of rock and roll, Chris and Jessie were able to find a place for Little Rockers in Shrewsbury, NJ. By creating a cool and comfortable environment that offers kids and adults shared musical experiences, the duo makes sure you’re never too young or too old to rock out.
Little Rockers’ second act features the SBA’s Lender Match and Pursuit
By offering classes, lessons, parties and shows, Chris and Jessie have used music as a universal method to bring families and children closer together as well as to foster cooperation, understanding, positivity and joy.
To help expand their mission and love of music, Chris and Jessie began browsing online for a loan that would allow them to open a second brick and mortar location for their Little Rockers Music & Arts Playcenter in Manalapan, NJ. On their search, they found the SBA’s Lender Match, a free online tool that matches businesses with small lenders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
“It was just so super use-friendly and helpful that we stuck with it,” says Jessie.
Within two days of submitting their application, the Pursuit team reached out to Little Rockers to help them continue to realize their dreams and share the joys of music.
An incredible opportunity leads to a great partnership
“We were not really ready to expand yet, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to partner with this company,” explains Chris and Jessie. “We learned about Pursuit and their commitment to helping small businesses grow. So, it seemed like a perfect fit for us.”
By choosing to partner with Pursuit, they not only received a $50,000 SBA Microloan, but also gained access to affordable resources and valuable assistance programs to help expand their business.
“We were able to secure our loan quickly and easily, and now, we have a great new location to reach even more families with our classes, lessons and parties,” says the duo.
Overall, Chris and Jessie felt that working with Pursuit was an incredible decision because they went “above and beyond any other lender, ever!”
Getting the band back together with technology during the pandemic
Though COVID-19 has made reaching the Little Rockers families more difficult, Chris and Jessie quickly moved their services online, so they could remotely teach classes and host parties using YouTube, Zoom and Skype.
“It has allowed us to continue performing and interacting with kids every day, which is our first love,” says Chris. “But most important, it has inspired us to figure out how to use the internet to expand our business and customer base beyond our local area, and it has created new opportunities for growth, despite the current economic downturn.”
With big hopes for Little Rockers’ future, Chris and Jessie are turning minor setbacks into new opportunities to keep music in the lives of their students and their families.
Chris and Jessie reveal their optimism for the future by saying, “We envision Little Rockers as a leader in children’s education and entertainment; a well-known and trusted brand that brings families together with music. Providing for our employees during slow times of the year, and certainly, with the current state of things, is pretty stressful, but with the help of the relief programs, we will prevail and emerge stronger than ever.”