Fall  2008      Vol. 17, No. 4  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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Spotlight On Business

Connie Hays’ Okie Dokie Daycare a Growing Success

Connie Hays first moved to Nebraska in 1990 and then to the Village of Mead, where she has been living for 15 years now. As a mother of 9, Connie had to find some time for herself, but she also loved being with children.

Tired of not having a secure job and well versed in caring for her 9 children, Connie decided to start her own child care business – Okie Dokie Daycare. Finding the right business location can be challenging, and for Connie it took several months. She finally decided on Fremont, where the business is still located.

“It was quite fun when we went to an auction and bought a lot of things we needed for the daycare. It was the hottest day of the year but the most fun. We made 7 trips in a pick-up to bring it all back here. Wow!” Connie said, remembering what it takes to start a business.

Just as she was about to open the doors, Connie discovered she had to have a fire Monitoring System installed first. With no money to do this and 21 kids already signed up, she started looking for funds, but the doors were closed to her. Connie turned to REAP and worked with Business Specialist Adriana Dungan.

With a $6,000 REAP loan, she proceeded to install the fire system and got the business open to the public. “The loan was for the fire system. Without it we could not have opened,” Connie said.

Okie Dokie Daycare has 12 employees now, and the business has grown almost up to its limit. Connie is planning on opening the daycare for 24 hour services for families that have to work different shifts. Hers will be the only daycare center in the area providing these services.

Connie is involved with the Chamber of Commerce and participates in different community events. She is married to husband Patrick.

Okie Dokie Daycare
416 E. 1st St.
Fremont, NE 68025

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