May 5, 2011
Shannan Watkins's Seaside business, Early Development Services, has come a long way in just 13 years. In 1998, Watkins transformed a condemned house in Seaside into a child care center for 44 children; today, EDS employs 71 people and provides early education services to nearly 300 children at eight different locations.
This accomplished growth, especially challenging as the beleaguered regional economy continues to barely plod through the recession, will be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Fresno District Office. Watkins was selected as the Central California Small Business Person of the Year, chosen among business spanning 15 counties, making the recognition "very significant," says Melende Ward, SBA spokesperson.
The award recognizes Watkins for presiding over tremendous growth. To meet increased demand, Watkins opened the first (and only) specialized infant/toddler development facility on the Monterey Peninsula in 2002. Most recently, EDS has been contracted to manage the child development center at California State University Monterey Bay. EDS also now offers parent workshops.
Watkins was nominated by the Grow American Fund (an affiliate of the National Development Council), a lender to Early Development Services. “Small businesses are struggling to access capital and often need alternate financing solutions,” said Olivia Rebanal, regional director of the Grow America Fund, in a statement.
Loans provided by the Grow America Fund helped fill the gap, in partnership with the city of Seaside, to "provide small businesses, such as Seaside’s Early Development Services, with the opportunity to sustain themselves and grow stronger, more robust communities,” Rebanal said.
Watkins will be honored with an award presentation 4pm, May 18 at Seaside City Hall, 440 Harcourt Ave. For information regarding the awards presentation, please contact Melende Ward at SBA at (559) 487-5791.