From left: Abby Davis, Brett Roubal and Amber Riddle
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
From left: Abby Davis, Brett Roubal and Amber Riddle

2020 Dynamic Dozen No. 6: Little Sunshine's Enterprises Inc.

Posted online

Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
Brett Roubal: It’s our leadership. Every day, I look at demographics for possible new school locations across the country. At the end of the day, you can pick the best possible location, but … unless you have the right leadership, that school is not going to be as successful as it might otherwise be. We have an amazing team of leaders in the home office in Springfield. … We also do our very best to hire fantastic local leadership. That is the absolute key to having success at every school.

SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Roubal: The biggest thing we think about when discussing growth and discussing how to grow is to make sure we’re doing so responsibly. We need to make sure we have the proper support structure in place to manage that growth. The last thing we should do is add additional schools to the Little Sunshine’s family if we’re not able to properly support it or that we pay so much attention to that new school that we’re ignoring our existing schools. I’m constantly taking the temperature of our bandwidth to make sure we have the proper support in place. … We’ve seen that become an industry problem.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Roubal: It’s allowed us to grow our corporate support team and add talent in areas that make us stand out from our competitors. We have a full-time general counsel, marketing director, and we’ve been able to add to each of these teams. … And now that we’re just a bigger, more robust company, it does allow us to consider growing in a one-time event that would bring on multiple schools. There’s not anything in particular that we’re in the middle of right now, but … that’s definitely in the forefront of our minds. That’s not necessarily something we could say in the past.

SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Roubal: No, I think quite the opposite. Our goals stay the same. Really, what we have experienced is that we don’t want to lose sight of our goals. We are an industry leader of early childhood education, and we want to continue to be that industry leader. We want to make sure we take care of our kids in a safe and loving environment and enable those kids to succeed.

SBJ: How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your business and current plans?
Roubal: We did have a few projects we were moving forward on that we did temporarily delay. We had identified four locations in an existing market of ours that we’d greenlit to start the due diligence process. I’m not ready to announce where those are, … but I can say our growth pattern is going to build out in our existing markets. … And within the remainder of 2020, we’ll open four more schools. Our first to come online will be in Austin, Texas, which will be open around the first of July, and then we have two schools opening in the Atlanta market, probably in August. And we have a new one opening in Schaumburg, Illinois, that’s right next to an Andy’s Frozen Custard that’s also being developed.