We first opened our doors in 1983. At the time, there were very few houses in the area, it was substantially fields. Since then, Columbia has obviously grown and so too we with it. As owner Debra Renz puts it: “I started this school because I had a degree in Family & Child Development. My grandmother died and left me $10,000. I wanted to have my own daycare center and used that as my down payment on the land and building. My sister was my partner. Shortly after opening the doors, her husband was transferred out of state. This left me with little help, a tiny enrollment, no business experience, and a young daughter aged three. I spent so many years struggling to make ends meet, keeping collectors at bay was a struggle as well. I just threw my arms up in the air and told them: ‘You just have to trust me. I will get this paid.’ And they did. All the hard work (16 hour days) and a little luck allowed me to get through it all. What’s meaningful to me now is when those students from the early years return to the school to say hello and talk about the successes they now have in their lives. It is always difficult in a competitive world. But staying current in the field and delivering such a vitally-important, personalized service for parents and most importantly – their children, is how the school has managed to become what it is. I’m still here every day and am proud to say I’m a hands-on owner. This individual school remains my only focus because in this business, when a person spreads their self so thinly as to operate several schools? The quality suffers.”