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Tonya and Travis Holt With their Primrose School of Woodbury in Minneapolis

Tonya and Travis Holt have owned Primrose School of Woodbury in Minneapolis, Minn., since 2007. As Franchise Owners opening a school in a fairly new market, they struggled with enrollment during difficult economic conditions. However, this franchise owner team was determined to persevere!

Travis and Tonya focused their attention on delivering the best early childhood experience in their community. They trained and re-trained their teachers to implement the Primrose programs with excellence.  They made the hard decision to change out their director on two occasions before finding the right fit with a team devoted to the success of their school.

Tonya and Travis implemented their marketing plans fully and when challenged to do more, they eagerly accepted and took on numerous additional marketing activities in their community. They quickly discovered how important connecting with the community was in gaining enrollment. You could find these Franchise Owners at community events every weekend, visiting with other local business owners and looking for connections in everyone they met. The local coffee shop quickly became a promoter of their new Primrose friends!

When their hard work began to pay off in gains of enrollment and occupancy these Franchise Owners did not slow down! They enthusiastically took on more projects. Primrose School of Woodbury was the first Minnesota school to achieve AdvancED accreditation. Tonya and Travis were thrilled about this, but were soon discouraged when a family who was receiving subsidies through the state Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program told them AdvancED accreditation did not fall under the requirements of the state. After another prospective parent told Tonya she could not enroll her child in the school since it did not qualify under NACCRRA requirements, Tonya decided to investigate.

She and Travis contacted NACCRRA and AdvancED, as well as the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program. They were surprised to find out that the Minnesota Parent Aware system did not recognize AdvancED accreditation. They then immediately contacted their local legislative representative and encouraged the other Minnesota Franchise Owners to engage their local representatives too. Tonya contacted anyone and everyone she could to bend their ear about including AdvancED as a recognized accreditation of quality in Minnesota. She spent countless hours at the capital and on the phone with representatives all over the state. Tonya also engaged Primrose management and key people at AdvancED in her quest for Minnesota to recognize AdvancED. Together, they quickly learned the Minnesota bill process and hired lobbyists who helped them draft a new bill that said if AdvancED was not going to be included, all other accreditations needed to come out.

Now, the state of Minnesota is required to have a list of credentials to be followed by accrediting bodies by Feb. 13, 2013. Then, all accrediting bodies will have to apply for approval through the state, which will allow AdvancED to have a fair shot for approval. While there is a chance AdvancED will not be approved, now everyone will have an opportunity for approval, which was not previously the case.

While this is only one success story, Tonya and Travis are definitely movers and shakers, both within the Primrose community and the Minnesota market. Regardless of the project--changing legislation, the Princesses and Pirates Ball for Valentine’s Day, donations for a fundraiser, enrolling a new family, or putting a band-aid on a scraped knee—Tonya and Travis Holt are engaged in everything they do!

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