This past winter I discovered a new business was opening near my office. At the time I was home with my four year old daughter and infant son. Daycare was too expensive for both so I took a year long leave from work. My daughter would be starting kindergarten in the fall and I planned to go back to work. Having worked in schools I knew there would be plenty of days where I’d need to find alternate care.
Enter Pop In Kids Club. Drop in daycare at an hourly rate. Inspected. Licensed. Reasonably priced. I was hooked after Emma’s first day. I reserved dates in September and November knowing space would fill up fast with other kids who have two working parents. I planned on taking my son once he turned two. This concept was just what my family needed. Bonus: it was so close to my office.
Today I received an email from Scott Bersak, the owner. The business was losing money. Not enough families were utilizing the service. He had to make the difficult decision to close. I was sad for myself and my daughter but after reading his email I understood the real reason they were closing temporarily. Yes, he mislead us at first but I appreciate the follow up email explaining the situation they are in.
This is where you come in. Consider donating funds to help the Bersak family during this difficult time. I was here (on a much smaller scale) recently and it’s terrifying. Luckily we were just trying to make it to a payday or two. This family lost everything with no source of income in the immediate future.
I understand some people are angry at the way this was initially handled but as a community we need to come together and help when we can. I don’t know if Pop In Kids Club will reopen. Perhaps the concept didn’t work in this particular area. Maybe people were turned off by the registration fees. I don’t have an answer for why it didn’t work but I also don’t want to see a family struggle to get by when a great business failed.
Everything about PIKC was fantastic and well thought out. Scott didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t cause it to fail. Please consider helping in anyway possible!
Below is the email from Scott explaining the sudden closure:
“Dear moms, dads, grandparents, partners and community members of Chester County-
I’ve been incredibly humbled over the last two years by the support of the families here in our community and I’m hoping you all continue to extend that support over the next few months. I’m also hoping you give me the opportunity to explain what’s happening right now with Pop In Kids Club.
In 2016, when I lost my job in corporate America, I saw it as a chance to chase my dream of opening up my own business. My wife and I knew it would be a challenge, especially with two small kids of our own, but not only were we up for it, we were excited. The thing we were most excited for was opening up a childcare business that answered our own family’s needs - providing an affordable and fun childcare option for parents who don’t have the extended family resources that so many parents rely on to raise their kids. While we live in an awesome neighborhood and are surrounded by great families, we were tired of relying on “can you help us out and watch the kids for a few hours?” favors. So to us, the idea of Pop in Kids Club made perfect sense -it was a business model that would work for us and our community. After years of planning, researching and building out the business, Pop in Kids Club opened in Exton in Spring 2018.
Through this process, we endured quite a few business setbacks relating to location and construction and some completely unforeseen circumstances like our daughter’s recent brain surgery and my wife losing her job, our family’s only income, this past winter. Pop in Kids Club opened almost a year after we initially thought possible, but with the support of this amazing community and our family and friends, we persevered and have had a few incredibly gratifying months building relationships with the families of Pop in Kids Club.
Over the last few days, my wife and I have had to deal with the stark reality of our financial situation. We’ve been forced to make some excruciatingly tough decisions in order to see if maintaining this business’ unique on-demand model and location, is financially viable. As a small business owner, we put our lifetime savings on the line to fund this dream. In the midst of this personal anguish, we made the poor decision to tell the community we were going on vacation. Oh boy how we need a vacation right now, but that’s certainly not what was going on -- we were simply stuck. I think Iwasn’t ready to admit what was happening -- what IS happening. We are closing. For right now, we have to close Pop in Kids Club until we can figure out HOW/IF we can reopen. It’s incredibly hard to admit that our business hasn’t been profitable and may not be for a while. We are losing money every day that we remain open which is why we’ve had to make this tough decision to close.
The most heartbreaking part of this experience has been losing the trust of the community. My family and friends will always stand by, trust and believe in me -- however I understand the community, the parents of the little ones you’re entrusting us with, may not be as forgiving. And believe me, I understand that. This brings me to our future together -- where you come in. We anticipate that we will return all registration fees to anyone who has paid up front to help us launch this dream into reality. We are having all the necessary conversations to make this happen. Please know, staying honest and being a man of my word, is something I take incredibly seriously. Anyone who has met me, has seen first-hand the passion, love and dedication I have for Pop in Kids Club. I hold myself to the same high standards and moral code that we hold at Pop in Kids Club.
I am so thankful that we were able to help so many families and make a difference in our community, albeit for a short time. As we work through all of these challenges, I humbly ask for your patience. I do hope to keep everyone informed as changes and decisions are made and be transparent and honest in those communications.
Thank you for the privilege of caring for your kids.
Owner, Pop in Kids Club”