Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Holiday Craft

Hey, Parents! Keep your students in the holiday mindset with this fun activity. Decorate a construction paper feather and write one thing they are thankful for on the feather. Add each feather to a cut-out turkey. On Thanksgiving day families review each feather to celebrate everything they are thankful for.  We'll be showcasing your child's work all month long at your Rainbow Station.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rainbow Station launches Boo To You Contest Voting!

Rainbow Station launches the voting period in our Boo to You Halloween Costume Contest! The winning entry will receive a New Apple iPad!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rainbow Station hosts The Leader in Me in Wyndham

Rainbow Station at Wyndham hosted their first ever The Leader in Me parent informational night on October 24th. With over 200 parents and other family members in attendance, they were guided through all 7 habits by using their Harvest Passport. Each of the 7 booths also had leaders of stickers to place a sticker on their Passport cards to prove they had indeed learned the habit!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rainbow Station in Franchise Times

Rainbow Station in Franchise Times in an article titled, "Different Footprints." When a franchisor is adapting its model for international markets, there are a lot of considerations on how to keep the same feel as the concept in the U.S. while adapting to meet the cultural standards of other countries. Gail shares how Rainbow Station worked with its Chinese business partner to both adapt the size and scale of the school with the programs that they offered. By offering enrichment classes for students, Rainbow Station will be able to grow throughout the country much easier. Even with those modifications, the look and feel of the interior of the school remains very similar to those in the U.S.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

By: Beth Mattson

Franchisors are finding there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to international expansion. Each country, each culture and each opportunity is different.

And, the real estate footprint and store prototype that works at home does not always translate to other countries. Denny’s is one group that is tweaking its standard format as it continues to add restaurants in countries such as Mexico, Honduras and Chile.

Although Denny’s is known for its freestanding restaurants in the U.S., the company has a more flexible footprint for international locations and has opened in malls, casinos, hotels and airports.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Franchisee Spotlight: Steve & Debbie Ramos

Steve Ramos and his wife Debbie are pleased to bring the supplemental and enriching education that Rainbow Station is able to offer preschoolers to their community of Fishers, IN.

Steve has been on the corporate circuit of business for many years, moving from Illinois to Germany to Minnesota, and eventually settling down in Indiana while working as an IBM executive. He started his career at IBM, later becoming a nonprofit executive focused on higher education at the National Society of Hispanic MBA (the largest Hispanic professional society). Steven is currently the COO of a biotechnology company called MedeoLinx.

Debbie is a second grade teacher at Geist Elementary School.  She is an award winning teacher having received District Teacher of the Year awards in Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana.  Nationally Debbie was a nominee for Disney’s American Teacher Award and a Golden Apple Achiever Award from Ashland Oil.  She is professional member of the Hamilton Southeastern Education Association, Indiana State Teachers Association, Hamilton County Reading Association, Indiana Association of Librarians, Indiana Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of Language Arts.    She also served as a committee member for the Hamilton Southeastern Corporations Balanced Literacy Committee and Young Hoosier Book Award Committee.

 With Debbie’s strength in teaching she will focus on the curriculum and will ensure that all the teachers at the center are providing excellent teaching.

Rainbow International is among the few preschools and school-aged recreation programs to achieve national accreditation based on stringent standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National AfterSchool  Association (NAA).

Steve and Debbie will be employing up to 40 part/full-time employees at their new location. This will be the first Rainbow International in the State of Indiana.

How did you learn about the brand?
While we were doing our research we looked at many different options but we found the mission and values of Rainbow Station consistent with our objectives of providing excellent preschool education.  The  PLAYWORKS curriculum at Rainbow Station is of the highest quality and the Get Well Place is also a wonderful option for parents.  It gives them comfort knowing that a pediatric nurse is on staff.  The value of accreditation and a strong curriculum are very important.  It lets our parents know that their children are getting the best education possible.  We also look to be accredited by the State of Indiana as a four star school preschool.  It will be the only one in our area.  We don’t want to just say we are the best.  The national and state accreditations are assurance that we are.   This is why Rainbow Station was the choice for us.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Rainbow Station?
We love what Rainbow Station has to offer, and we want to make sure it provides the best education and care for children in the area. The details and elements surrounding the nursing and staff really show the genuine and wholehearted commitment of Rainbow Station to its mission.

What makes your business different, what are you able to bring to the area that other educational services can’t?
I want to focus on positively impacting my community.  We want to have the very best childhood educators and teachers to help those lives that we touch to become outstanding leaders. The Rainbow Station curriculum is excellent, and we will enhance it with a thematic approach incorporating STEM education. 

We are proud to be the first "Leadership Preschool" in the United States, based on adopting the nationally acclaimed initiatives focusing on development beyond academics. Our "learn early, learn well, and lead" philosophy instills 21st century skills like compassion, responsibility, and teamwork that will impact your child's life in and out of school, and long after he or she has completed an academic career. It's a commitment to transforming children's lives—not just their academic development..

In the Get Well Place, we have created a safe and supportive environment for mildly ill children that promotes a return to wellness—and offers plenty of extra love and attention.   Our curriculum provides a diversity of experiences designed to initiate and nurture a love of learning in all children in our changing multicultural, multi-role world.

We also hope to have a bilingual environment for those families that want to have a competitive edge in our bilingual society.   Beginning with infants we will provide a bilingual environment so that by the time they go to first grade these children will be conversational in English and Spanish with a strong STEM orientation.  Our afterschool program will continue to develop their bilingual reading and writing skills.  By the time they are in the fourth and fifth grades the dual language will be permanent.  With continued afterschool focus on STEM our students will be positioned for AP classes when they attend high school. This is a unique aspect to our school that Rainbow Station endorses.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with Rainbow Station?
We would like to have at least two more in Caramel and Zionsville and potentially a third location in Avon.

What are some of the publications you read? Local? National? What is your goal publication with your business?

What do we read?
The Indianapolis Star
Geist Magazine and Cambridge Magazine
National Geographic
Forbes Magazine
The Mailbox Magazine for Teachers
National Council of Teachers of English

Indy Child’s Magazine– free and good sized monthly publication
Nuvo Newsweekly
Indianapolis Monthly Magazine
Indianapolis Business Journal, many of our clientele are professionals so that’s something they look at it. The Indianapolis Star
Geist Magazine and Cambridge Magazine – neighborhood publications

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
We spend a lot of our time helping in the community.   Steve serves as Board Chairman for the Imagine Life Sciences Academy, Board Member for the Indianapolis Zoo, a State Commissioner, and serves on the National Board of AVANCE.  AVANCE is focused on preschool education.  Their mission is to unlock America’s potential by strengthening families in at-risk communities through effective parent education and support programs.  On a personal level Debbie and Steve enjoy spending time with family and friends boating and traveling.  They are also avid Indianapolis Colts fans.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rainbow Station featured in South Charlotte Weekly

Rainbow Station featured in South Charlotte Weekly in an article titled, "Rainbow Station prepares for expansion in area." The article explains how Michelle Mistele and Parks Hunter decided to become franchisees of Rainbow Station. It goes into detail on the programs that they have to offer and development plans for expansion in the Charlotte area.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

Rainbow Station prepares for expansion in area
By: Morgan Smith

Michelle Mistele and Parks Hunter have always believed in the Rainbow Station model, even when their three children couldn’t be admitted to a school branch in Richmond, Va., due to a 400-kid waiting list.

That didn’t stop the couple from lov­ing the early childhood education facil­ity’s mission, style and programs.

“We had seen a lot of different child care options... but we got to know a couple of the directors (atRainbow Station) on a more personal level and met the founder Gail Johnson,” Mistele said. “We learned why the school was so unique. Gail wanted to expand and we were just true believers in Gail.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rainbow Station China CEO, Paul Pan

Paul Pan, CEO of Rainbow Station China, has had an extensive, 30-year career in finance, investment banking and entrepreneurship. Paul’s professional life started in the United States where he worked for top financial institutions, such as Wells Fargo Bank and Charles Schwab, in the business-development and securities-analysis sectors. After receiving his MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2000, Paul returned to China and worked at Deloitte as a senior manager of corporate finance before becoming the general manager of strategic management at D’LONG. In 2005, his entrepreneurial journey truly began when he became the CEO of Carpenter Tan (HK List CO. #00837), a position he held until 2007 when he became the CEO of iTour, an airline ticket and hotel reservation service.  In 2010, Paul founded and became the managing partner of Golden Capital Holdings Ltd., a private equity investment management company. 

Because both of Paul’s parents were educators in China, he has always had a strong passion and drive for early education. In the latter half of 2011, he began researching quality and premier child education concepts in the U.S., which is when he found Rainbow Station. After completing market research, visiting with Gail and Earl Johnson and seeing a Rainbow Station campus first-hand, he was struck by the brand’s innovative curriculum and experienced leadership team. He quickly jumped on board, and in 2012, he became CEO of Rainbow Station China. He opened the first campus, which now has more than 60 students, in Shenzhen, China in January of 2013 and has plans to add over 110 units throughout China.  

How did you first learn of Rainbow Station? Complete your due diligence?
I began looking into early education programs in China about two years ago. At the time, the first wave of early education was near its end in China, and the second wave was beginning to take off. After completing extensive research on Rainbow Station and meeting with Gail and Earl Johnson, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to bring their unique brand and curriculum to China.

I was taught in both China and the U.S. and am a father of several children who are growing up and being educated in two countries with vast differences in culture, values, education systems and goals. Thus, I am dedicated to bring the Rainbow Station preschool concept and experience into China. It is extremely important to me to offer a better early education alternative for children in China, and to bring the interactive way of teaching and methodology that Rainbow Station provides to children here. 

What kind of challenges have you experienced with bringing the brand to China?
I think it is difficult to balance both the American and Chinese schools of thought and integrate them together. In China, there is a huge emphasis on exams and test taking because the results are quantifiable. With Rainbow Station, we are trying to figure out ways to quantify the thought process for parents to demonstrate the upward growth that each child has.
Right now, most parents see Rainbow Station as an American school with an American curriculum and way of thinking, while at the same time their children learn English. English is a desirable side benefit. This is a much better approach than directly offering an English-language learning program.  

We are an American brand with a unique curriculum and a rich history. This combination really sets Rainbow Station apart. I chose Rainbow Station not only because of the experience in education that Gail had, but also because of the “Leader in Me” program from Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” that she had implemented system wide. In China, everyone wants to get ahead of each other. The Seven Habits philosophy develops and enhances a child’s leadership skills, which is something that is very important to parents.

What makes Rainbow Station different?
The Rainbow Station vision is aligned directly with my own. When I looked at Rainbow Station, I thought, “this is what I want to do, and this is what I want my school to be.” I think Rainbow Station is different because it puts such an emphasis on cultural diversity, integrity and individual ownership. Of course, we are a for-profit business, but I felt that Rainbow Station was about so much more than making money. I truly want to be able to offer this education system to all Chinese children because I really believe in its mission, vision and values, as well as the brand’s enormous potential for success.

Why is China a good market for Rainbow Station and child education and development?
One of the most important things when starting a new business is the partner you have, and I have the right one. Gail, Earl and the Rainbow Station team all share the same mission, vision and passion that I do for early childhood education.

Additionally, the Chinese market has a lot of opportunity because of the recent economic growth and the expansion in the amount of disposable income the middle class has. In China, after a family has a house, they concentrate on using their disposable income to educate their children, for medical treatments and to save money for retirement. For parents, children’s education is becoming an even larger priority.  

What challenges have you overcome, either in your personal life or career, to get to where you are today?
I have experienced many challenges in my life but I always look towards the future and think about the Seven Habits. I also think it is extremely important to learn from my mistakes. When I set a goal, I never give up. That being said, I have to make sure my goal is attainable, achievable, and within my capacity.  I also always develop an action plan based off my goal.

What are your development plans for China?
I would like to have five schools by the end of next year, including three corporate locations. I plan on our second school being the model for other franchise locations. Ideally, I would like to open 200 units over the next five years.

Do you have any interesting hobbies or passions?

I really enjoy watching U.S. movies. When I lived in the U.S., I used to go to the theater every week! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Franchisee Spotlight: John Sims

John Sims, 42, has recently opened his first Rainbow Station franchise in Richmond, Va.

Sims graduated from Old Dominion University (ODU) with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English.  For over 20 years, during college and afterwards, Sims worked for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) operating recreational facilities, including water parks, golf courses and other enterprises. Sims started as a lifeguard with NVRPA while in college.  During the off-season, he worked as a seasonal/hourly Park Ranger, then a part-time supervisor, and eventually was hired on as a full-time Park Ranger.  From there, he moved up to an Assistant Park Manager position, and finally to the senior position of Park Manager.

In the spring of 2012, Sims left his job to use his skills and experience working for himself.  “I've pretty much done it all... hiring, training, managing, accounting, and marketing.  I wanted to put those skills to use for myself.”

Now, Sims is applying that professional experience to operate his first Rainbow Station franchise in Richmond, Va.

How did you learn about the brand?
While networking around Richmond to find the right business for me and my family, I heard about Rainbow Station. I asked around and did some research, and the more I looked into it, the more I liked it.  It turned out that a Rainbow Station franchise was the perfect fit for us.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Rainbow Station?
Besides the financial aspects of the operation, it just seemed like a good business to get into.  Rainbow Station is an organization that pursues excellence, supports its stakeholders and provides a great service.

Additionally, I am very passionate about the education industry and have always been drawn to teaching.  I've been a shooting instructor with the parks, taught rock climbing at a gym and also worked as a substitute teacher in public schools. Throughout my career with the parks, one of my favorite times of year was the spring, when I was able to train new employees. I've always enjoyed passing on the knowledge and skills that I've gained. I know that I can go to work for many years to come, and always feel passionate about what I'm doing.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
The biggest challenge was making the transition in careers. Having 20 years seniority and security in my job made it hard to leave.  Having three children, I knew that the stress and uncertainty of quitting that job to go into business would be one of the most difficult things I could do.  Now that I've done it, I know it was worth it.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with Rainbow Station?
My current goal is to increase enrollment. The way to do this is to produce an excellent service and be on the cutting edge of the industry. In the future, I’d like to acquire a second location.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?

I try to involve my kids in everything I do, so my hobbies and interests lean towards kid-friendly activities.  These days we mostly spend our free time in the outdoors: hiking, canoeing, skiing and camping.  I also enjoy rock climbing, shooting and just reading somewhere quiet.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Franchisee Spotlight: Hazel Mariano, Virginia Beach, VA

When Hazel Mariano became pregnant with her first child in 2001, she couldn’t help but think about all of the parents of the children she’d treated during her years as a pediatric nurse practitioner and the stresses that having a sick child placed on them. Over the years, she felt especially sympathetic to parents whose child had chronic illnesses, such as asthma, that required them to be out of school for two to three days at a time, four or five times a year (therefore, forcing the parent to be out of work for the same lengths of time). “I was talking to my sister over dinner about all of this, and I told her of a running joke we had at work about renting out the office for sick children,” Mariano says. “She said, ‘You know there are preschools with nurses, right? It’s called Rainbow Station.’”

Mariano, 40, attended the University of Virginia where she received her Bachelor’s of Nursing in 1993. After a year and a half in the field, she received her Master’s in 1997 and went on to work as a pediatric nurse practitioner for a private practice in Chesapeake, Va. She and her husband Rob are both East Coast natives, and he received his health science degree from Old Dominion University. Rob, 39, went on to work as a respiratory therapist in the pediatric sphere until they both left their jobs in 2007 to jump feet-first into Rainbow Station. “The school truly is the marriage of nursing and education,” Hazel says. “Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat, but we actually are usually educators – teaching parents and families – so Rainbow Station really is the perfect fit.”

How did you learn about the brand?
After my sister told me about the brand over dinner, it was one of those nights where I was up late feeding the baby and surfing the web. I read the mission, vision and values and found out the founder was also a pediatric nurse. I emailed them at 2 a.m. just saying, “My name is Hazel; my sister Joyce works for you,” and let them know I was interested. Joyce was working as an administrative assistant there at the time. I guess my sister got a call from Gail Johnson the next morning, which started the process. My husband and I took a tour of the school, which looked like no other school I’d ever seen in Virginia Beach. At the same time, we were looking for daycare for my son, which was so hard after we knew what Rainbow Station was like; no other place even compared.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Rainbow Station?
My husband and I both have that entrepreneurial spirit. We wanted to start our own business, and we knew it couldn’t be a clothing store or a restaurant but that it needed to be relevant to our backgrounds and meaningful to us. We decided to take the leap of faith. We signed the agreement in 2003 and it wasn’t until 2006 that we found our location. But in 2007, we both left our jobs and things really got rolling.

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?

The first few years, we worked with the March of Dimes, and in the first year we raised $8,000 and in the second, $12,000. For the past few years, we’ve chosen The Cure Starts Now, a pediatric brain cancer foundation. The reason we got involved is that my neighbor’s child was diagnosed with DIPG, a brain tumor that leaves no chance of survival. She was alive for 20 months after she was diagnosed, and after seeing my neighbor go through this, we thought it’d be perfect. It’s child-based and there’s a local family personally involved in this matter. What we do for fundraisers is challenge each classroom to raise a certain amount of money – this time it was $250 – any way they want. So we had car washes, bake sales, canvas paintings and key chains to sell to parents, etc. And then we held a dodge ball tournament for parents and staff at the end. We do that big fundraiser once a year. Sometimes the older kids will do smaller ones or lemonade stands. But we try not to do too much because we don’t want to nickel and dime the parents. I’m sure the parents appreciate us not asking for money all the time.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
I love to read. I chauffer my children everywhere because with five kids all under the age of 11, they all have activities and keep us quite busy. My husband and I are competitive when it comes to Jeopardy, and we love watching The Walking Dead. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leading Preschool Franchise Positioned for Consistent Growth

CEO Gail Johnson Leads Rainbow Station’s Expansion through Careful Planning and Execution

GLEN ALLEN, Va.There is a spectrum of options for working parents in search of quality early care and education. However, in the arena of comprehensive early childhood development, leadership, emergency backup care, and summer recreation, Rainbow Station has no competition.

Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, the Rainbow Station brand was conceived and refined by CEO Gail W. Johnson and a passionate and dedicated leadership team with over 187 years of combined experience in the children’s education sector. Beginning her career as a pediatric nurse, Johnson identified a shift that was occurring in society. More women were joining the workforce in the 1980s, and were then left to find suitable care for their children.

“I wanted to make a genuine difference in people’s lives,” she said, recalling the nexus of her concept. “Although early education wasn’t a new field, I noticed a lack of businesses that provided comprehensive care, education and a focus on developmentally appropriate practice.”

Johnson also recognized the stress that unexpected illnesses placed on both parents – illnesses that create the dreaded “whose job is the most important today?” conversations as well as the lack of services available for children with special health care needs.

Launched in 1989, Rainbow Station not only provides the world-class, proprietary PLAYWORKS® curriculum-based learning for children from birth through kindergarten, but also delivers the industry’s most unique and differentiated wellness element: the Get Well Place, a haven for mildly ill children whose care needs otherwise would necessitate a missed day of work for mom or dad. The  Get Well Place is staffed by a pediatric nurse and accepts mildly ill children with colds, flu, gastrointestinal illnesses, etc.,-- all conditions that  are regularly excluded from school or other out of home arrangements.

“I wanted to challenge a family’s perception of what early learning truly means on both academic and personal levels,” Johnson said. “It was also very important to me to provide the necessary support for parents with ill children and those with chronic health conditions.”

Rainbow Station expanded in 1996 to include a unique school age program that teaches children key decision-making skills and is designed to promote freedom and choice. Within this separate facility adjacent to Rainbow Station’s original facility (now reserved for preschool children), the company constructed a miniature indoor community where children can actively engage in academic activities and learning opportunities with supervision and support. This inclusive community is called The Village at Rainbow Station, and its low faculty-to-student ratio guarantees that children from 5 to 14 are engaged in fun, brain-stimulating activities.   

Throughout her career, Johnson has been committed to innovation. She became intrigued by a magnet school that successfully integrated educator, author and entrepreneur Steve Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People into its curriculum. Her passion for leadership connected with this approach. She was convinced that the key principles in Covey's The Leader in Me module could be taught to students of any age, and integrated them into the Rainbow Station curriculum. In doing so, Rainbow Station became the first preschool system in the country to teach these concepts to preschoolers, thus establishing the brand as a place that not only focuses on getting children to kindergarten but also preparing them for success in the  21st century. This emphasis on 21st century success extends to all programs—not just the preschool:  The Village, The Get Well Place, and Camp Blue Sky.

The latest innovation at Rainbow Station is the creation of Camp Blue Sky, which will debut this summer at its Virginia locations. Drawing from the Covey-inspired leadership tenets, the camp will seek to present children ages 5 to 13 with a unique away-camp experience in a day-camp setting with a fast and furious delivery of the planned activities and curriculum.

Today, Rainbow Station is nationally recognized as the only early learning institution that offers such a premium suite of services. There are 10 Rainbow Station campuses located in the United States, including franchises in Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. In January of this year, Rainbow opened the first of what is anticipated to be 110 schools in China.  All franchisees, domestic and international, are committed to Rainbow Station’s vision of excellence and the desire to partner with teachers, nurses, and parents to promote the success of each child enrolled in their schools.

With a primary concern on establishing a solid foundation, Johnson focused on perfecting the Rainbow Station methodology before seeking wide-scale expansion. The result is smart growth and a polished, professional operation that provides the highest quality experience for its children and their families.

“We could have pushed the number of Rainbow Station franchises sky high, but we wanted to grow the right way. We wanted to ensure the highest quality experience for our families and franchisees,” Johnson said, noting that the brand sold its first franchise location in 2000. “The time for us to grow has come, and we’re prepared to do so – both in the United States and abroad.”

What distinguishes Rainbow Station from all other industry options is the opportunity for potential investors to purchase a brand with four distinct value propositions through a single franchise agreement. The company’s franchise disclosure document reflects that the total investment in a domestic Rainbow Station franchise ranges between $ 750,000 and $1,200,000 based on a project cost of $5,000,000 to $6,000,000. An $80,000 franchise fee is included in that range estimate.


Rainbow Station is the nation’s premier provider of early education, school age recreation, emergency backup care and leadership development. Its comprehensive approach to building the future one child at a time incorporates Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and teaches each of these tenets throughout its programming as part of its The Leader in Me initiative. Curriculum-based learning using the proprietary curriculum, PLAYWORKS®, is offered for infants through private kindergarten as well as programs for school age children. The Council on Accreditation (COA) provides accreditation for the programs at each Rainbow Station. Each Rainbow Station features the Get Well Place, a facility within the campus staffed by a pediatric nurse that accepts mildly ill children. Additionally, Rainbow Station created a school age program called The Village, an interactive learning environment based on freedom and choice where children can receive tutoring, complete their homework and engage in active play before and after school hours. Its latest innovation, Camp Blue Sky, a dynamic summer camp concept, debuts this summer at its Virginia locations. To learn more about the leading early education franchise, please visit

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rainbow Station featured in Richmond Times Dispatch for Small Business Week

Rainbow Station was featured in the Richmond Times Dispatch last Friday in an article leading into Small Business Week (June 17- June 21) where the Small Business Administration met with two women-owned and led companies in Richmond. Gail Johnson, CEO, discussed her relationship with the SBA, being named Small Business of the Year in the 1990's and they have been assisted for nearly $12.5 million in loans to Rainbow Station owners. The article also combines information about Gail with info about More than Moving for Seniors Inc., another local woman-owned business that was recognized by the SBA. They also attribute information to Rainbow Station Vice President Susan Bishop and President of Rainbow Station International Rick Sample.

Two women-owned companies recognized in advance of Small Business Week

With almost no business background, Susan Campbell set out with an idea for a company that specializes in moving the elderly.
When it came time for her company to expand, she was unsure of the next step.

“We just wanted to talk to someone who had been there … to help navigate the waters of business,” Campbell said.
Campbell received mentoring through a program associated with the U.S. Small Business Administration. She recently received a $50,000 loan from the SBA for an expansion.
Gail Johnson needed similar help with her specialized day care center and preschool. The SBA helped her secure a loan for $750,000 to open up a second facility when her school’s waiting list was supersaturated.
On Friday, the SBA recognized the two small, women-owned businesses in advance of Small Business Week that starts Monday.
Campbell established More than Moving for Seniors Inc. in 1998 after helping her father move from his home of 48 years.
She saw a niche in the market for a company that would help focus on the senior’s move and make it easier for the family. (To continue reading article, click here)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rainbow Station featured in the San Antonio Express News

Our new Rainbow Station in San Antonio was featured this week in the San Antonio Express News and for the opening which occurred on May 18th in a northern suburb of the city. The article discusses Jennifer Hirncir's second location shares some insight into the unique program that Rainbow Station offers to both parents and children up to age 14. Gail Johnson who is the CEO also discussed the proprietary PLAYWORKS program, national accreditation, emergency care programs, recreation and leadership development, as they are distinguished as the nation's first "Leadership Preschool."

To read the full article online, click here.

San Antonio Express-NewsNew Rainbow Station opens near Stone Oak area

By Jessica M. Cervantes, Staff Writer
Published 10:13 am, Tuesday, June 11, 2013
From teacher to entrepreneur, a mother who sought after better childhood care for her son opened the first Rainbow Station franchise in Stone Oak in 2003 and recently opened her second location in far North San Antonio May 18.

Rainbow Station is a nationally accredited program that provides early education, recreation, emergency backup care and leadership development.

It is, its officials say, the nation's first "Leadership Preschool,” based on adopting nationally acclaimed initiatives focusing on development beyond typical academics.

The program's proprietary Playworks curriculum mixes teacher-directed with child-initiated activities.
Jennifer Hrncir, who opened the first Rainbow Station at at 322 E. Sonterra Blvd., said the idea for starting an early childhood center developed because she was not satisfied with what she called “chaos” in similar local centers.

“After doing research we found Rainbow Station, toured the (original) location in Virginia and realized no one else was doing what they were doing,” Hrncir said.

“My father was looking for a family business (to invest) in, so we decided this was it.”

Although Hrncir had the idea for the second station, Rainbow Station at Cibolo, located at 3108 Marshall Road, since 2008, there were many obstacles she had to overcome during a time when the economy made it more difficult.

“One the benefits of opening a second location is that you have people on board who have experience and understand how the system works,” Hrncir said.

Rainbow Station founder/CEO Gail Johnson said Hrncir was the “pioneer” who believed and put trust into Rainbow Station despite an unstable economy. Hrncir's local Rainbow Stations were the first franchises outside Virginia.

“Jennifer is the definition of persistence,” Johnson said.

Hrncir said one of the main things that attracted her to Rainbow Station was that the program was designed to work around the individual child and parent situation, not about how many children could fit in the classroom.

Currently there are 300 children enrolled at the Sonterra location and 75 enrolled at the Cibolo location. 

To continue reading article, click here. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Franchisee Spotlight: Kevin and Ashley Johnson, Rainbow Station at Haymarket

Kevin Johnson has a special tie to Rainbow Station, as his mother, Gail Johnson, founded the school back in 1990. After being there for the launch, he’s been involved in a part-time capacity, then transitioning to full-time over the summer, at each of the Richmond Rainbow stations doing whatever his mother needed, which included, “basically every position except preschool program director.”

Kevin grew up in Richmond, Va. but attended college at Colorado State University where he graduated with a double major in communications and philosophy in 1995. From there, he took a couple years off and attended law school at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. and his law career began as a prosecutor for the city of Richmond. In 2004, he opened a defense practice there, and he still has a few cases today (though his main focus is now Rainbow Station).

Kevin’s wife Ashley, 34, grew up in Louisa County, Va. and attended James Madison University where she graduated with a degree in communications with a focus in arbitration and mediation in 2000. She was a manager at her mother’s title insurance office, but she went on to start her own title agency in Richmond in 2006. She’s since left the business to focus on Rainbow Station full-time. The couple’s two sons, Jayden (age 5 ) and Cody (age 4 ) are also enrolled in their school.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Rainbow Station?
Ashley: We got to the point where Kevin said he wanted to get out of litigation, so for two years, we looked at different business models to get him out of law full time. We committed to each other that we’d figure it out by January 2012. By the middle of summer 2011, his parents said, “Why don’t you look at the school in Haymarket, is that something you’re interested in?” We did, and doors began to fly open. We knew that was the path we needed to take, so we went for it.

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?
Ashley: We sponsor a race every year with two of our local elementary schools. It’s called the Alvey Gravely Fun Run, and they do it annually to promote a charity they’ve chosen for that specific year. We also sponsor the Lady’s 9 Piedmont Golf Association.

Kevin: We’re really proud of our wall of honor we created in our school last year. On one of our gym walls, we have put a very large American flag with a quote from Thomas Jefferson about patriotism beneath it. For $20 a sponsorship, we create a name plaque that’s engraved in full color with the seal of the branch for service of the particular person. It gives their name, rank and any special honor associated with that individual. If you imagine the Vietnam Memorial Wall, it’s very similar. We’re at about 20 names right now, and it teaches the kids about people’s lives that are connected to them as they come in and out of the gym. For instance, if a child has a father, mother or relative who serves our community in a different military branch, in local law enforcement or as a fireman, they might be on the wall of honor.

Both of our families are very military-oriented in that my dad, uncles and grandparents all served in the military, and the same goes for Ashley’s side of the family. We’re just pro-America and pro-patriotism, and we have a desire to be good community members. We wanted to make that a theme in our school. And here in Virginia, we have so much military. We wanted our families to know that’s important to Rainbow Station and the kids to know community service and patriotism is important.

We have a parent who served our country in Afghanistan, and he brought us a flag that flew at the time of war in that country and donated it to the school with a really nice certificate. I just took it to Michaels to get it put into a great presentation that we’re going to include on our wall of honor. This same parent gave the opening remarks at the time we unveiled the wall of honor, and just the fact we did this brought him to tears.

Our goal is to get another 20 names up there by Memorial Day. I think it’s something that’s going to continue over the next 20 years. All the proceeds from the wall of honor go to, an organization that supports Military kids and their education.

Do you have any superstar employees? What is their story?
Kevin: We have a lot of talent in the school, including a lot of artists. We have a very diverse staff with a lot of cultures represented. A lot of our curriculum comes from the different perspectives and various cultures.

Our private kindergarten instructor, Alice Walker, was our teacher of the year, and she just has a passion for teaching, a charisma with children and an ability to connect with kids. One of our two sons is in her class, and she has taken him so far in this last year.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with Rainbow Station?
Ashley: I’m all about Haymarket, and I haven’t thought beyond that. But one of our core values is innovation, so we’re always looking for new development possibilities. Last year, we had an organic garden, and this year, Kevin’s vision is to do a bike path.

What are some of the publications you read? Local? National? What is your goal publication with your business?
Kevin: My normal week when I’m reading includes USA Today and Google news, TIME Magazine, and for recreational reading, GQ and Esquire and something hunting and fishing related. I also read Fortune and Money.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
Kevin: Hunting and fishing.

Ashley: All fitness-related hobbies, as well as an interest in organic and healthy lifestyles. From that passion, she’s put a real fingerprint on our school in the way we clean by using natural products, the way we serve our food using organic and natural when possible to create nutritious options for children. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Franchisee Spotlight: Jennifer Hrncir, San Antonio

Jennifer Hrncir (41) opened up her second Rainbow Station location in San Antonio at 3108 Marshall Road. Jennifer’s background in special education in addition to her own pregnancy inspired her to search for a proactive and well-rounded early childhood education system. Jennifer was the first Rainbow Station franchisee in the system and opened up her first location in June of 2003 in San Antonio, Texas (322 East Sonterra Boulevard, San Antonio, TX). Her belief in the education that Rainbow Station provides as well as their commitment to children allowed her to confidently take that leap and open her own unit. All three of her kids went through the program and Jennifer is still running her centers with more than 10 years of experience under her belt.

How did you hear about the brand?
I was pregnant with my son and there was nothing in my area that appealed to me. I learned about Rainbow Station through a family friend of mine who actually found Rainbow Station on the internet. This was before searches were easy to complete. I was interested in the concept and contacted them for further information.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Rainbow Station?
I looked into other early childhood educational centers but they were all very focused on the business and corporate side of the operation. Rainbow Station was focused on the children. They were warm and from nursing care and toddlers to The Village, they had appropriate curriculum for all ages.

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business?
We are heavily involved with the Autism Foundation and battered women’s shelters in the area. Those are the two main charities we donate to and do special events with.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with Rainbow Station?
This will be our second location and we are also in development plans to open a third on the northwest side of San Antonio. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rainbow Station Featured in San Antonio Business Journal

Rainbow Station was recently featured in the San Antonio Business Journal for opening its second location in the city. Franchisee, Jennifer Hrncir, was the very first franchisee with Rainbow Station who first opened in 2003. The new school which celebrated its grand opening on May 18th is located at 3108 Marshall Road is 22,000-square-feet. 

Click here to read the full article

Business owner celebrating opening of second Rainbow Station

Reporter/Project Coordinator-San Antonio Business Journal
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Small-business owner Jennifer Hrncir will celebrate the grand opening of her second Rainbow Station location on May 18, beginning at 10 a.m.
The 22,000-square-foot facility is located at 3108 Marshall Road.
The Glen Allen, Va.-based child-care chain serves infants through 14-year-olds.
Rainbow Station was founded in 1989 byGail W. Johnson — a former pediatric nurse who now serves as CEO of the company. Each facility features the proprietary PLAYWORKS curriculum for children — from birth through kindergarten. The Rainbow Stations also include the Get Well Place. Staffed with a pediatric nurse, the Get Well Place is tailored to care for mildly ill children, so that parents do not have to miss work. Children do not have to be enrolled in Rainbow Station to use the Get Well Place. (To continue reading, click here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rainbow Station featured in the Richmond Times Dispatch

Rainbow Station was recently featured in the Richmond Times Dispatch for their expansion into Shenzhen, China with business partner Paul Pan, who is spearheading the rapid development. As the first U.S.-based child education and care company in China, the company is incredibly excited and is noted for introducing Franklin Covey's "The Leader in Me" into its leadership development programs for young children.

Rainbow Station plans to open 110 schools in China in the next five years. Opening its first school in less than 7 months, they plan to move quickly into highly populated cities throughout the country. To read the full article on the Times Dispatch, click here

Rainbow Station to open 110 schools in China in next five years

Henrico-based company to open 110 schools in China in next 5 years

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 9:44 am, Sat Apr 6, 2013.BY PETER BACQUƉ Richmond Times-Dispatch

Henrico County-based Rainbow Station plans to open 110 schools in China in the next five years.
Rainbow Station to open 110 schools in China in next five years
Working with a Chinese partner, the child education and care company opened its first location in China on Jan. 26.

“Taking Rainbow Station abroad has been absolutely thrilling,” said Gail Johnson, the firm’s president and CEO.

Rainbow Station provides preschool education, after-school recreation and care for mildly ill children at its U.S. facilities.

At Rainbow Station’s new location in Shenzhen, China, families will have access to a modified version of its preschool classroom and early-learning experiences, Johnson said Wednesday. (Click here to continue reading)