Photo: Art Sidner
Mankato: Lil’ Bees Learning Center
Growing up, Brandon Olson always wanted to start his own business—but running a daycare center was never on top of his list.
“If you’d asked me 20 years ago if I’d ever operate a daycare, I’d have said no way,” he said.
Now, however, Olson is the owner-manager of the Lil Bee’s Learning Center in Mankato—and business is buzzing.
Olson grew up in St. Peter before heading to Minnesota State University to pursue degrees in management and financial planning. After graduating, he began working at the State Farm agency in Mankato. Along the way, he met and married his wife Brooke, and the couple has three children: 8-year-old Briah and 3-year-old twins Brogan and Bray.
According to Olson the daycare business really goes back to when the twins were first born and he and his wife tried to find a good daycare for them. All the good centers were full and had long waiting lists, he said.
While the couple was eventually able to find an at-home daycare, it didn’t offer care for kids entering preschool. So when the twins turned three, the Olsons once again began looking for daycare—only to come up against the same long waiting lists. But then Olson met a property owner who came to State Farm looking to insure a daycare center. Instead, Olson ended up buying the property himself in November to start a new daycare center there.
“It all clicked together,” he said.
Olson named the center “Lil Bee’s” after the five people in his family whose names started with B. He works there full-time, along with 15 employees. While not licensed as a preschool, his daycare does offer preschool curriculum, and he says everything they do is education-based.
He opened the doors on Feb. 16 and already has 52 kids—and a waiting list for the infant room that stretches until Feb. 2016. In fact, there has been so much interest that he’s already planning to add another preschool room, as well as perhaps buying nearby property for a bigger expansion or starting a similar center in another location.
Lil’ Bees Learning Center
Address: 1821 Bassett Drive, Suite 103
Facebook: Lil’ Bee’s Learning Center