success stories abc



In 2002, Alma Ferrel opened a home-based day care center and preschool in Fillmore. By 2010, she was at capacity. With different classes throughout the day, ranging from infant care to preschool and after-school care, Ferrel had children in her home eight hours each weekday. With the demand for child care services rising in Fillmore, Ferrel knew she needed a bigger space.

Best Advice:
All it took was a phone call to EDC-VC and its Small Business Development Center for Ferrel to begin the process of opening ABC Kids Preschool & Childcare in a facility that could accommodate more children.

From working with SBDC advisors on permits, finance, planning and facilities and developing a business plan, to acquiring loans and contacting construction engineers for renovations and playgrounds, SBDC advisors were with Ferrel every step of the way. EDC-VC’s partnership with the county and First 5 Ventura County enabled Ferrel to receive more than $200,000 in loan funding to build out her new commercial facility, equip it with furniture, purchase playground equipment and install a kitchen.


ABC Kids Preschool & Childcare currently has 112 children enrolled. It is the first preschool and child care center of its kind in Fillmore, with classes for infants, toddlers, preschool classes and after-school care.

She hopes to open another center in the future so she can serve more families. “I plan on reaching out to EDC-VC and its SBDC again. They were so helpful the first time and I know that having them as a partner will build on our success and help to provide a much-needed resource to the community,” said Ferrel.

Lessons Learned:
Patience is a virtue:
“The whole process took about two years,” said Ferrel. “But with the support of EDC-VC, SBDC and First 5, everything worked out. From going through the lease to acquiring the right permits, staying on track and trusting in the plan we developed was the key to our success.”

You’ve got friends:
“Some of our neighbors initially opposed the day care center moving in. EDC-VC, First 5 and Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long spoke on my behalf and really helped turn opinions around. Today, we have a great relationship with all of our neighbors and they love having the center in the neighborhood.”

Trust in yourself:
“Throughout the process, there were times where I wondered if I could do it. But EDC-VC really believed in me as an individual and was willing to advocate on my behalf. It really helped me because I knew that having their support and the support of my family would help me overcome any obstacles.”

Funding is available:
“By establishing a partnership with EDC-VC, SBDC and First 5, I gained access to everything I needed to renovate and build out the space. From gaining funding to hire contractors and employees, the loans I received made all of this possible and allowed me to create jobs. We currently have 12 teachers.”

ABC Kids Preschool & Childcare
808 River St. • Fillmore, CA 93015
805-524-1222 •

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