Date Posted June 27, 2017Dino Drop-In opened the doors to its first location in March of 2016. Just 9 weeks earlier Jessica Dehn, had discovered a business partner on a sledding hill. Already friends, the two mom's began building a drop-in that would raise the standards of drop-in care in the Gallatin Valley while initiating Jessica's larger goal of revolutionizing the way we deliver childcare in the United States.
Jessica Dehn - Our initial financing came via a loan from my partners parents which allowed us to build out our first space off of 19th in Bozeman. We set aggressive start up goals and daily checked items our miles of to-dos. There were lots of late nights and 12+ hour work days but by mid-summer we were hopping busy by 8:30 am and its only gotten better. The Bozeman community loves our enriching, screen-free environment, skilled teachers, and the convenience we provide to stay and home and working parents, alike. Children can stay for an hour or all day and parents know they are learning and having fun while they are away.
Along with our success Dino Drop-In's first year also brought challenges. After my partner moved across the state, I had a dilemma; continue the partnership with an absentee partner, sell the business, or buy her out. The decision was mutual. The ideal solution would be a buy out but with only 6 months of financials, bank financing seemed unlikely.
Enter, Clinton Gerst from the Bank of Bozeman. I was one of the founders of 1 Million Cups Bozeman, which Bank of Bozeman sponsors and Clinton attends monthly. After meetings he and I would often linger discussing possible buy out plans and how to navigate the sale. When my partner finally agreed to sell, I was elated, I had such big plans, & I was prepared to go to every bank in town if that's what it took. One day I happily announced to Clinton, its time to start shopping for a bank my partner agreed to sell me her portion! Clinton replied, "No need to shop, just stop on in." That's what I did.
I was introduced to Dan Welch. Originally from Belgrade, Dan had great insight on my business. After reviewing our short track record he seemed confident Bank of Bozeman could help. I was honestly shocked that we could put something together so quickly. It seemed like it was just a week or two and every thing was all ready. The buy out closed in late October 2016 but it was just the start.
The financing not only allowed me to buy the Bozeman location but after just two months we were looking at locations in Belgrade for expansion. We found one in the Town & Country complex off Madison and moved quickly to open in late January 2017. An expansion that has doubled my business while allowing a much needed flexible daycare option in Belgrade.
From day one Dan has been my sounding board and an alternative perspective through change and growth of the business. Whenever I have a new opportunity come my way I bring him ideas and financial projections and he gives me sound financial advice on my plans. As a person has an extreme risk tolerance, I appreciate having Dan & Clinton as trusted advisers who keep me on sound financial footing.
In the months since I have also grow to know many of the staff at Bank of Bozeman and have had nothing but great experiences. The team is a great partner in my business.