Friday, September 15, 2017

Fullamaneur #3: Diversify but do it at the right time

In 1980 we moved back to Oklahoma from Elk Grove Village which is a suburb to Chicago where I worked for 5 years for EDS/Ross Perot.  I was still under 30 and lots of ambition flowed through my veins.  So about the end of 1980 I had found an acre of land in El Reno on Country Club Road close to Interstate 40 and where the town was growing.

Well I am still amazed she hung around me after all my idea, but we decided to build a day care center because everyone needed one these days and El Reno is where Shouna grew up and they needed a lot of services.  I got a bank to give me a loan and about $450,000 later I was in business and I had some wonderful folks in El Reno working and we were off to a great start.  BUT HOLD ON, I did not expect the state of Oklahoma to change the rules and reduce reimbursements for child services for folks on assistance by over 20% and then change the rules on how many children per student and raise taxes and add more paperwork.  I did not know the federal government was going to spend millions of dollars to open a single day care center much less several and each one that opened took a few more students.  I did not know that if you had a government daycare center like at the FAA which cost over $2 million and charged the same or less and paid the employees twice as much as me because they did not have a mortgage payment or property taxes.  Then the worst happened, Penn Square and First National Bank of Oklahoma City failed and about half the banks in Oklahoma were ultimately closed and as they use to say "the fat lady sang" in Oklahoma and about every company in Oklahoma was either broke or going broke and layoffs were everywhere.

Luckily I had a great job and as we started losing thousands of dollars a month then 5 and 10 thousand a month I figured out that other folks in the same business were broke and worse off than me.  In fact I went to the broke banks and found a few more daycare centers that were shuttered and I was able to purchase buildings that originally cost $500,000 for less than half and without any money down as long as I would make the payments on those buildings.  Well, suddenly I had a chain of daycare centers called "Country Club Children's Centers" and I was able to move from losing $10,000 per month to 5 then 3 then 2 then even make a little profit.  I did have to finally close the El Reno center because it was always losing money and if you remember "The Rainbow Bible" developed by Billy Huey of El Reno became the new owner.  My trash became their treasure and blessing.  Who says the Lord does not work in mysterious ways?

To end all this I would say I learned a lot about a lot of things.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • In every pile of manure is fertilizer for something to grow, just give it time
  • The lessons you learn make you ready for the next hill
  • After every hill you climb there will be another hill on the horizon and in the next valley is fertile soil for another dream to bloom, maybe growing right out of that old manure patty
Thanks for listening,
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