Two Local Moms Opening New Extended-Hour Child Care

1 Jan 2018

A new child-care center with extended hours will open in Holdrege in early 2018.

Jamie Johnson and Andrae Matthews have formed a partnership to open Wiggles & Giggles Academy, which will serve newborns up to age 5 at its location at 2321 East 4th Ave.

CEO Jamie Johnson previously provided in-home child care services and most recently worked at the YMCA at R7 Child Care that closed in August.

CFO Andrae Matthews earned an associate’s degree in early childhood education and bachelor’s and master’s degree in human services. Her master’s degree has an emphasis in non-profit leadership management.

The two have already hired several staff members and former Tutoring Tots preschool teacher Kathy Peterson to teach preschool. The academy’s preschool classes will be offered for free to any child enrolled full or part-time at the center.

Andrae said although the YMCA at R7 facility closed, there’s still a need for child care in the community, especially for extended hours to support nurses and employees at BD and Allmand Inc. who don’t work regular business hours between 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

“We want to be able to accommodate those staff, and we want to be able to offer more than others are offering at this time,” Andrae said.

Andrae said she is grateful to the Phelps County Development Corporation and especially Director of Business Services Carley Bruning for her help in launching this business.

Bruning helped the new child care owners find information about financial resources available to them such as grants or REAP loans, gave them the Steps-to-Start-Up business guide, offered spreadsheets and information needed to write a business plan and helped gather information about the need for child care in the community. Andrae said Carley also acted as a sounding board to their ideas and set up a meeting with the leaders of a local manufacturing plant to see how they can work together to fill child-care needs in the community.

“PCDC has been so amazing with how much help that they have given us,” Andrae said. “They really want to see the community grow.”

Andrae also appreciates the support and help given to them by Joe Keller, owner of the building that they will lease for the child care facility.

The two stumbled upon the building after driving the town for weeks seeking “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs on buildings. Once they toured Keller’s building, they knew it was the right location for their new business.

They will need to complete a few renovations, including adding toilets and a wall to create one more new room prior to their opening.

Wiggles & Giggles plans to operate initially from 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m. with the goal of eventually offering 24-hour child care seven days a week. The center is currently accepting applications from those interested in enrolling a child or children in the new child care. Please contact Jamie at (308) 995-7339 or Andrae at (843) 670-9298 for enrollment information.

A Wiggles & Giggles website and Facebook page will soon be available with more information.