I love young ambitious female entrepreneurs who see a vacancy in the market and jump right in. I opened a lunch cafe in downtown Nashville at the age of 25 – actually signing the rental agreement at just 24. So, when I met up with Ann Williams and heard her story and saw her enthusiasm behind her new play-care adventure, Smart Sprouts, I felt a bit like I was talking to myself, but back when I was fresh out of college. Ann has as an undergraduate degree in childhood development and a masters in child studies from Vanderbilt University, my own alma mater, which sealed the deal that I claim her as the little sister I never had. But, less about me and more about Smart Sprouts and why I wish I still had wee little ones to drop off here. www.smartsprouts.com
Smart Sprouts is a brilliant idea which Ann has proudly copied from her older sister who lives in Menlo Park – outside of San Francisco. Her sister realized that moms needed a place to drop their children, for short amounts of time, that was less congested and more focused on learning than your typical drop-in center. Like her sister’s business, Smart Sprouts does not have a T.V., video game, or electronic toy in the entire play-care.
I love the wooden toys that dominate the play-time here:
Several years ago in Nashville there was an expose on the difference between play-care centers and drop-in care centers. What I love about Smart Sprouts is that even though they don’t need to be as highly certified as drop-in care centers, all the employees more than exceed the qualifications for any drop-in or play-care center around. With the brilliant networking of Ann, having just graduated a couple years ago with her masters, and with some help from this cruddy economy, she has snagged some serious brain power to work with her at Smart Sprouts. She has sorority sisters and fellow gals with master degrees lining up to work at this child focused, educationally centered, drop in play-care.
So the rules are this: Smart Sprouts is only for children ages 1-6. You have to register as a family before you ever drop your child off. You can only drop off for up to 10 hours a week, or up to three hours a day. And, I know you’ll love this, there can only be 15 children at a time at Smart Sprouts.
Ann has picked one of my favorite streets in all of Nashville to open up this slice of mommy heaven: Bandywood. Talk about convenient. Drop off and head to Pure Barre or Willow, or even for a 30 minute run to the grocery store, and a moment of peace. Smart Sprouts is located at the back-end of the Courtyard at Bandywood. If I still had little ones (well, I do still have a 6 year old…), I might be tempted to drop off and hit Habit and Perfect Pair and never leave the parking lot. But I know the parking lot is what has many reading worried. Don’t worry: when you sign your family up for Smart Sprouts, Ann will give you the phone number for the center. Immediately put that number on your driver’s side visor. Simply pull into the lot and call. This way, even if a parking spot is not open, one of the gals can rush down and get your little one (or two, or three) and safely bring them to Smart Sprouts.
There is an Open House for parents Thursday night Dec. 9th from 5:30-7:30 PM (with wine and munchies) and a full family Open House on Saturday from 10-2.
If you are reading this and thinking, “Gee, I have older kids and this Ann gal sounds amazing. I wish she had something for my age kids.” Well, she does. She’s one of those amazing people who is always noticing the educational gaps in the market. She also runs Vandy Tutors (and Stephanie pictured above is one of the tutors!) for students at all area schools. She partners with various Vanderbilt students to provide everything from school work tutoring to standardized test training. For more information see:
Ann – we wish you success with your new business and we know that Nashville moms will be heading your way. Smart Sprouts just makes too much sense not to get noticed.
Open House for parents Thursday night Dec. 9th from 5:30-7:30 PM (with wine and munchies)
Full family Open House on Saturday from 10 AM – 2 PM