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How's Business? - Status Report #9 on For-Profit Child Care

by Roger Neugebauer
March/April 1996
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/hows-business-status-report-9-on-for-profit-child-care/5010860/

"Last year started out like gangbusters. Our enrollments were up, and every week one of the big chains would knock on our door with an offer to buy us. Then after our normal summer lull, enrollments never really picked up in the fall."

This analysis of 1995 by the owner of a small chain of centers in the midwest pretty much sums up the views of most of the hundreds of center owners, big and small, that we surveyed for this annual status report. Most reported that 1995 was a very good year even though in the last four months enrollments remained flat at best.

Putting 1995 in Perspective

While 1995 was a strong year for the child care industry, overall growth was not nearly as strong as during the boom years of the mid-1980s (see "A Capsule History" below). Rapid expansion began to slow in the late '80s as supply began to catch up with demand. Then the demand for child care actually reversed itself during the Gulf War and the ensuing recession.

According to Richard Niglio, CEO of Children's Discovery Centers, the recession of the early '90s hit the child care world particularly hard because "this was our ...

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