Where young minds flourish

Bristol’s Discover, Learn & Grow will open second learning center this fall

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Flourishing endeavors: On Sept. 15, the local early learning center Discover, Learn & Grow, located at 420 Mill St., will open the doors to a second nearby space at 218 US-13 — an expansion its owners Ramona (right) and Marcelous (left) Jones largely credit to the assistance provided by the Small Business Revolution. SAMANTHA BAMBINO / TIMES PHOTO

It’s been over a year since the residents of Bristol Borough began reaping the benefits that came with being crowned the winner of Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution. During the $500,000 revival, which helped transform and modernize six local businesses, Bristolians became the definition of “entrepreneurial spirit” as viewers nationwide followed their journeys on the Hulu series.

Even those who had yet to be born when Amanda Brinkman’s famous heeled boots first walked along Mill Street are being impacted in a major way. On Sept. 15, the local early learning center Discover, Learn & Grow, located at 420 Mill St., will open the doors to a second nearby space at 218 US-13 — an expansion its owners Ramona and Marcelous Jones largely credit to the assistance provided by SBR.

After an interview process that saw more than 100 area shop, restaurant and business owners vying to be featured on Small Business Revolution, the mother-son duo was one of six chosen for a massive marketing makeover.

For several weeks, the Joneses worked with Brinkman and a slew of small business experts, who helped them ramp up Discover, Learn & Grow’s branding and online presence.

“We had the learning aspect, but we didn’t have the business aspect,” Marcelous said.

When Discover, Learn & Grow first opened its doors in October 2016, he explained how the focus was naturally placed on providing children with a good education. As long as the kids were learning and developing vital life skills, having a difficult-to-navigate website wasn’t the end of the world … at least for the time being.

Deluxe marketing experts gave Discover, Learn & Grow’s website a complete overhaul, making it bright, easy to use, and chock-full of information to showcase the care center’s offerings. The site details the expansive experience of its owners, chronicling Ramona’s 35 years as an educator and administrator in the School District of Philadelphia, and features pictures of the center’s children learning and playing. The Joneses were also taught the ins and outs of advertising, how to create a budget, and ways to provide tuition assistance for parents.

Since Discover, Learn & Grow’s SBR episode aired, it has consistently been at maximum capacity of 26 children, with a handful on a waiting list. According to Ramona, a number of parents decided to enroll their kids after viewing the show and witnessing the professional yet welcoming atmosphere the center boasts.

Despite being open just shy of two years, Ramona and her son knew they had to expand to meet the demands of the community. Approximately six months ago, they began the process of seeking out a space to house their second location, and landed on the 218 US-13 spot just a stone’s throw away.

This time around, the Joneses had the SBR team by their side every step of the way as they developed the new state-of-the-art center. Through weekly Facebook chats and an in-person meeting earlier this summer when Brinkman and SBR returned for a “one year later” follow up, Ramona and Marcelous have been able to bounce ideas off and collaborate with the experts every step of the way. Armed with their newfound business knowledge, the pair is welcoming the second center’s launch with an unprecedented sense of confidence.

The new space will be home to elementary and middle school-aged children for before- and after-school care. Here, they’ll be able to utilize interactive centers, technology and more. Transportation from the Bristol, Bensalem and Neshaminy school districts will be available. The original Mill Street location will continue to welcome children 8 weeks to 5 years.

In both spaces, Ramona described how everything from the tables to containers of toys are set up in a purposeful way. The mission of Discover, Learn & Grow is to teach educational skills such as reading and writing, as well as basic developmental skills like interacting with peers. To help achieve this, different sections are designated for each purpose, including separate learning and play areas.

Marcelous also stressed the new center will embody the motto the Mill Street spot has practiced since day one — “Where Young Minds Flourish.” No matter how popular the Discover, Learn & Grow brand becomes, no matter how many spaces it could one day expand to, he promised a supportive, family atmosphere that works to educate the children of Bristol’s diverse community.

“We try to make this an extension of the home,” he said. ••

For more on Discover, Learn & Grow, visit discoverlearnandgrow.com.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com