Andrea Dobra Moore: Discovery Point at the Forefront of Childcare.

ADMIRED WOMEN

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When we think of child care, words like supporting, safe-keeping, trust, and guidance come to mind. The first daycare center dates as far back as 1840 in France, during the second industrial revolution. During this time, many women added to their domestic duties and sought jobs in factories to improve the standard of living of their households. 

In the modern fast-paced economy, the childcare industry stands poised as a multi-billion-dollar industry. “Revenue for the child care industry is projected to reach $73.8 billion by 2027,” shares Andrea Moore, Executive Director of Operations and Development at Discovery Point Franchising, Inc. Andrea has been in the educational childcare field for more than 27 years, including time as an Early Childhood Education (ECE) college instructor and multiple educational consultant roles in business operations.

On the mission to build a childcare brand committed to providing each child with a nurturing, supportive environment for growth and learning, Discovery Point is considered by many as the standard in childcare services for children from 6 months to 12 years of age.

High-quality Educational Care

There is no denying that the biggest worry a parent has is the safety and well-being of their child while they are at work — and no one understands this better than Discovery Point. “At Discovery Point, we strive to provide more than just ‘daycare’ in the traditional sense of the word,” states Andrea. This is true because here, not only do the teachers spend the day caring for and nurturing infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children but they also provide formative educational experiences that shape the way these young minds approach the rest of their lives, whether it be their continuing academic path or social and emotional growth.

Discovery Point was one of the first in the childcare industry to add an educational emphasis to the ways of traditional care. Over the years, that educational focus has been refined and has evolved into a research-based strategy aimed at teaching and developing the minds and social skills of young children. There is an acute focus on maturing them into caring, responsible young adults. 

Furthermore, each daily activity at a Discovery Point center is designed to educate the “whole child”, incorporating not just cognitive learning, but social skills, character development, and physical development through yoga, outdoor activities, music, and more. In 2019, Discovery Point further expanded their children-centric portfolio, implementing their proprietary “Connections Curriculum”, with adaptable literature and language-based lesson plans.

Andrea Moore

Discovery Point was one of the first in the childcare industry to add an educational emphasis to the ways of traditional care. Over the years, that educational focus has been refined and has evolved into a research-based strategy aimed at teaching and developing the minds and social skills of young children. There is an acute focus on maturing them into caring, responsible young adults.

The History of Discovery Point 

Discovery Point planted its roots back in 1988. The original founders and owners, Cliff and Diane Clark, wanted to develop a child care center based on one simple truth: children thrive if they are guided in a loving and nurturing environment. This mission came to fruition with the opening of the original Discovery Point Child Development Center in Snellville, Georgia.

Seeing the success of the first center and the enormous demand for education-based child care, Cliff and Diane soon launched a second center location. Their childcare model was such a hit that by the third year of being in business, the Clarks decided to start franchising to meet the demands of different communities, expanding further across the Southeastern U.S. “We now have child care center locations in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and North Carolina – with plans to grow within these states and beyond,” says Andrea. 

Another reason that Discovery Point has thrived is that it allows its individual owners to have their own vision of child care, and even adapt services for their particular community. Whether it be offering additional special needs services, foster care support, providing multilingual instruction, or growing their own gardens and serving “farm to table,” at Discovery Point there is commitment to care focused on the individual child and the family. It is a place that lets the parents remain worry-free about their children and a place to where children look forward to going. 

Andrea’s Journey

“Even though I didn’t personally get to know Diane Clark, her legacy and leadership as a strong businesswoman remain in all of our daily processes and it is the heart of the company itself,” shares Andrea — who joined Discovery Point back in 2013. She mentions that it was Diane who paved the way for the women in their system, especially in business ownership and corporate leadership. This resonates with the fact that out of the 46 Discovery Point centers today, 32 are singularly owned by women. “Our owners manage a budget of over a million dollars a year and oversee providing care for over 200 children in each center. The quality care they provide requires commitment, focus, and a good bit of business savvy.”

In her own professional journey, Andrea shares that she has been allowed to grow and expand her skill set by being responsible for various roles at Discovery Point. “I originally joined the team as Manager of Education and Training. While that included the business training of new owners, most of my focus at that time was on teacher training and education.”  

Over the past eight years, Andrea found herself in more cross-functional operational roles, being promoted to Executive Director of Operations and Development in 2016. In this role she works closely with CEO, Cliff Clark, in the planning and execution of long-range goals including growth and development of the franchise system. She leads the corporate support team in marketing, curriculum, and quality assurance programs, while also spearheading the sales efforts. “My greatest joy is guiding new franchisees through the steps to center ownership.  From that first informational meeting, through the steps of construction, to the grand opening day, we’re building a relationship that will last for the next 20 years.”

Becoming a Part of The Discovery Point Family

Approximately 70% of mothers with children under the age of 18 work outside of the home. This creates an ever-increasing need for quality child-care. With close to 12.5 million American children attending daycare every week, the Discovery Point franchise model has emerged as one of the tops in its tier. Not only do they have a distinctive operational practice as compared to others, but Discovery Point also works on a turnkey model, making them an attractive proposition for franchise buyers.  

Our partners do not have to take on a construction project, but instead can focus on business and educational training,” says Andrea. “Secondly, we are one of the few franchise systems that have a fixed rate fee schedule. Instead of our owners owing to the franchisor a percentage of income, our fees stay stable — the franchisee gets to keep more of their center’s profit. Finally, our buyers see unapparelled support and open communication from the very first day. Our process from site plan to grand opening is one of partnership.”

While Andrea and her team select a franchise owner based on a number of factors, their key criteria are how willing the franchise buyers are to follow their established model and adhere to the strict childcare health and safety regulations defined by Discovery Point and the individual states in which they operate. While an entrepreneurial mindset and business acumen are appreciated in franchise partners, Andrea asserts that any compromise to Discovery Point’s quality standards is a deal-breaker.    

The franchise fee at Discovery Point is $75,000 which starts a 20-year relationship with them. Every new owner undergoes an extensive 4-week training program that includes time on-site with an established franchise partner. The ongoing support comprises monthly quality assurance visits, in-house marketing, a customized website, and a social media presence. In addition, there is support for curriculum implementation, as well as a franchise resource site with everything from parent letters to procedural guidelines, ensuring that a center is covered from all angles.

Giving Back

Each Discovery Point center is strongly connected to its community, forming relationships with families and local support agencies. Each individual center plans its own yearly giving, partnering with community philanthropic organizations.

Centers hold “Trike-a-Thon” fundraiser events and participate in holiday giveback initiatives like the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots. Many centers also hold canned food drives to help distribute supplies during the holiday season and beyond. 

Each summer, Discovery Point promotes a company-wide initiative named in honor of their late founder, Diane Clark. “Diane’s Devotion” is a philanthropic school supply drive that takes place annually at the beginning of the school year.

In addition to these, Founder and CEO Cliff Clark partnered with Gwinnett Medical Center to help build a “Concussion Care-A-Van,” which offers free baseline concussion testing and concussion prevention education to the children and teenagers in local sports leagues. Most recently, in 2021, Gwinnett Medical Center unveiled the Diane Clark Patient Simulation, Education, and Safety Center thanks to a multi-year lead gift from Cliff Clark.  The new space provides simulation classrooms designed for training interns in a variety of medical emergency settings found in the hospital.

Exciting Times Ahead

Over 33 years, Discovery Point has remained focused on one thing – to provide excellence in child care services and to offer turnkey business opportunities, training, and continued support to new owners.  

Looking ahead, Discovery Point continues on the path to sustained scalable growth, with current expansion plans for Charlotte, North Carolina. “At the same time, we will continue development in the Bradenton, Florida area, where our most recently opened center began operation in December of 2020,” shares Andrea. With Discovery Point fast expanding into newer territories, they continue to lead the charge towards creating spaces that cater to the all-around developmental needs of a child. For this company and its partners, the best is surely yet to come.

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