Smiley’s Daycare

Smiley’s Daycare in Hudson, Illinois, is proving that something as simple as a smile can positively impact a persons’ day.


Throughout college, Tara Graff worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a variety of healthcare settings.  “When I would arrive for work, patients would say, ‘It’s a good thing Smiley’s here!’”  The time Tara spent in the medical field gave rise to Smiley’s Daycare name, because it proved that something as simple as a smile can positively impact a persons’ day.  Smiley’s Daycare provides reliable, affordable, and quality daycare services to Hudson, Illinois residents and the surrounding community.


Women in Business

“As a woman, I never thought I could become a future business owner, but after leaving several jobs that I did not enjoy, my heart was telling me to go back to what I loved the most, helping kids.  So, I opened a home daycare in 2018 and saw the need for quality and affordable daycare grow exponentially.  Parents often wait months to years for daycare spots, and I wanted to help fill the need in my community.  Smiley’s Daycare was born out of my passion for providing reliable, affordable, and quality daycare services in an environment that feels like home.  It combines the things that parents love about home daycares, such as the smaller size and a warm and welcoming atmosphere, into a licensed daycare facility.”


Utilizing SBA 504 Financing

When asked how utilizing SBA 504 financing impacted her business, Tara said, “It has allowed my dream of building a daycare facility to become a reality.  Being as young as I am, it was difficult getting a bank to finance a loan and Growth Corp made my portfolio to banks look 10 times more attractive. More banks were willing to back my loan and believe in my vision.”

But it’s not just the business owner that benefits from SBA assistance.  The impact on local communities is truly why the SBA 504 Loan Program is known as SBA’s flagship economic development tool.  The surrounding community has felt the positive effects from Smiley’s Daycare too, which Tara says includes, “building a beautiful building on an empty lot in a small town that did not have a daycare, creating jobs for early childhood educators, and providing daycare to so many families in need.”  The best part too…the license for Smiley’s Daycare was just increased from 17 kids to 40 kids, so they are now excited to offer a school-aged summer camp and after-school care in the fall.  A huge relief for working families.

Tara says impacting the families and children Smiley’s Daycare serves, watching the kids grow and learn, and seeing how much they love the daycare have been the most satisfying moments in owning a business.

When asked if she had any wisdom to impart to aspiring entrepreneurs, Tara said, “Perseverance is key. Never give up. Struggles will come and it is about how you handle things in difficult times that sets you up for a successful future.”

The construction of this woman-owned daycare facility created jobs and fulfilled community reinvestment goals in a rural community.


To read more about Smiley’s Daycare, visit https://www.smileysdaycare.com/, or go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083342804677


Do you have a story of how Growth Corp’s SBA 504 Loan Program helped your business succeed?  Become a 504 Success Story!


Posted on

May 24, 2024