Going Above and Beyond for Children: How TEDC Helped Family-Owned Legacy Childhood Education Centers Thrive Under New Owners

Table of Contents:

Family-Owned, Excellence-Minded Daycare
Baptism by Fire into the World of Daycare
Bringing the Financial Puzzle Pieces Together
Best Daycare Experience Around
A Future Filled with Learning Joy

Many people dream about buying a business and making it their own, but never undertake the adventure. Whitney and Mac McCrory, owners of Legacy Childhood Education Centers, took the bold step of embarking on the joys of buying and building a business—along with all the challenges that come with it. It’s a dream that wouldn’t have become a reality without financial help through TEDC Creative Capital.

Family-Owned, Excellence-Minded Daycare

Legacy Childhood Education Centers began as a daycare business Whitney’s mother started decades ago. After experiencing the challenges of finding care for her own sons as a working mom in the 1970s, Whitney’s mother realized that high-quality, high-standard daycare options were needed, so she decided to create her own. The first Legacy Childhood Education Center was launched in Sand Springs 40 years ago, and it has grown ever since.

When her mom was ready at last to retire, Whitney and her husband Mac stepped in and expressed interest in taking over a portion of the business. “I couldn’t just let the centers go,” Whitney says.” One day, they’ll be all I have of my mom.” She and Mac literally wanted to keep the family legacy going by providing superb daycare for parents and their children in the Tulsa area.

Baptism by Fire into the World of Daycare

Whitney acknowledges that simply entering the world of daycare and owning a business is a risk. But that didn’t stop her from buying three Legacy centers from her mom. “Just starting out that first year was really a baptism of fire,” she says. “We had an audit.  We had accreditation. We had licensing visits for our application bond permit. We learned a lot that first year.”

And then, the shockwave that hit the entire teaching industry affected Legacy, too—the onset of COVID-19 and the pandemic’s effects on learning. As owners, she says, “We’ve now operated more post-Covid than we ever did before.” 

But through all the obstacles, they remain focused on their desire to provide the top-notch daycare Legacy has committed to for four decades. Finding financial partners who understand that vision and support it was essential. Enter the team at TEDC Creative Capital.

Bringing the Financial Puzzle Pieces Together

“Buying a business is not like buying a house,” says Whitney. “There are a lot of moving parts when you have such a big loan package. And TEDC played such an integral part in us being able to acquire these centers.” Through TEDC, Whitney and Mac acquired an SBA loan, which they didn’t even know was an option at first.

“Our note package involved several different lenders, and when you’re working with a complex financial package like that, every piece is important,” she adds. “TEDC was an integral part of that financial puzzle.” 

The team at TEDC made it easier to navigate the ins and outs of Tulsa’s business community and their commercial loan needs as they took over Legacy as new business owners. “If you are looking to either invest in a business or start up a business, then you really need to look at TEDC because they are going to be there to help you,” Whitney says.

Giving Children the Best Daycare Experience Around 

Now that Legacy Childhood Education Centers has transferred into Whitney and Mac’s capable hands, they continue to use their new financial footing to further level up the daycare experience. They’ve invested in a new curriculum, along with fresh supplies, brand-new toys, and updated classroom setups that create a superb learning environment. Legacy’s teachers can provide small group interaction and focused learning to build social skills and collaboration—essential skills in school and life. 

“We can really zone in on our observations, see how our students are developing every single day, and keep that data so that we can see how they’re learning and growing. Our new curriculum that we’ve got rotating, along with all of our toys and supplies, has really paid off,” says Whitney. “It has kept the kids engaged. The new curriculum has been wonderful for them.”

So has the McCrorys’ commitment to providing the very best in what daycare can for Tulsa-area families. Even though the state of Oklahoma doesn’t require daycares to be accredited, the McCrorys consider it something they won’t compromise on. So, in addition to maintaining Legacy as a five-star facility as rated by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, they also pass regular inspections to affirm they meet accreditation standards as well.

“We go above checking the boxes,” says Whitney. “We exceed all the standards, go above and beyond, follow a curriculum, post our lesson plans, and teach. Our goal is to provide the best experience possible, and it is a reality in these walls.”

A Future Filled with Learning Joy

Whitney remains excited about the future possibilities of serving local families with excellent daycare at Legacy. “We have so much to offer,” she says. “Our kids are on a routine, and we offer a lot of really fun activities during the day. We have so much wonderful equipment, so much wonderful space. We’re not absentee owners. We’re here. We know the kids by name. We know their birthday. It’s almost like family.”

The love of learning is something Whitney aspires to see children take with them for the rest of their lives long after they have outgrown their years in daycare. “I would love to have these kids grow up and have children of their own and bring their kids here. That’s part of Legacy.”

As a community development financial institution (CDFI), TEDC Creative Capital provides a number of nontraditional capital and funding vehicles along with educational resources to equip entrepreneurs for success in the Tulsa area. Whether you’re thinking of launching a startup or interested in buying an existing business, TEDC can provide the financial puzzle pieces needed to bring everything together and have a bright future with your business.