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Play ‘N’ Learn Creates State-of-the-Art Daycare Facility

Through the use of Great Falls Development Alliance’s (GFDA) SBA 504 lending program, Small Business Development Center business coaching, and Brownfields Program, owner Raegan Breeden was able to create a state-of-the-art, Level Four daycare facility serving upwards of 170 children in the Great Falls, MT area.

“Great Falls Development Alliance has been and continues to be a valuable partner. From business coaching and business loans to cleanup and redevelopment, I turn to GFDA at every step of the way.” 
– Raegan Breeden

Play ‘N’ Learn began as most humble daycare operations do – out of Raegan’s own home. Originally licensed for 12 children at her home on Malmstrom Air Force Base in 1997, Play ‘N’ Learn has seen multiple expansions, each one bringing in more children, more employees, and more revenue. By 2017, she’d created 18 jobs paying more than $340,000 in wages and benefits annually. As of January 2019, she employed 28, paying annual wages of over $800,000 to accommodate a whopping 173 children!

Ms. Breeden was referred to GFDA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program in January 2015 by her realtor. As an SBDC client, we began with the financial feasibility of the project. By October 2015, we completed our feasibility study and moved into business planning and loan packaging.

First Interstate Bank approved financing for the current expansion in the amount of $2.2 million in April 2018. In order to make the deal bankable, GFDA’s SBA 504 affiliate High Plains Financial stepped in with an SBA 504 Loan, minimizing risk for First Interstate Bank and guaranteeing Play ‘N’ Learn a low, fixed-interest loan that only required a 10% down payment.

No expansion is complete without growing pains. Environmental due diligence delayed closing and construction due to a leaking underground storage tank on an adjacent property. To compensate for cost overruns and as advised by her SBDC advisor, Breeden utilized GFDA’s Brownfields Assessment Program. She received roughly $30,000 in grant awards to fund Phase 1 and Phase 2 assessments.

Play ‘N’ Learn is now the largest preschool and daycare in the region, and recognized by Montana DPHHS’ STARS Program as one of only two Level 4 Facilities in Northcentral Montana.