Before the couple undertook the challenges all small business owners face – financing, hiring decisions, remodeling, ordering and stocking inventory, as well as a myriad of other high-stress chores – they took a moment and planned.
“We knew that we had to have at least 100 kids to make the bills. That was the need. I thought, ‘We’ll never get 100 kids.’ We stayed hopeful,” Kim Buzzard recalls.
Right from the get-go, Buzzard says the community response was great, with more than 100 children enrolled in classes such as ballet and gymnastics.
That was in September of last year.
Now, 13 months later, ‘All About Kids’ has grown up with a remodeled gymnasium where 23 classes are taught. In each class, you can normally find anywhere from six to 15 or more children, Buzzard says.
The classes offered have expanded, too, with multiple choices of physical activity for youngsters – from the traditional ballet and gymnastics to baton, hip hop, karate, zumba aerobics, wrestling, archery and spirit cheering.
“When we first we approached about re-opening the gym that had closed down, we had appraisals done and the springboard floor appraised for more than the entire building,” Buzzard remembers with a slight chuckle.
And what once were rooms used for storage have now been converted into the ‘All About Home’ section.
“When I would look through the windows, every evening what I would see were women – bunches of women – who were there watching their children in these classes,” she said. For Buzzard, this was an opportunity in the making.
With more than 13 years as a Director selling home interior products, Buzzard slowly began to display candles and knick-knacks for the women to browse.
“I began ‘All About Kids’ because my kids were bored and there was nothing for them to do unless I wanted to drive them to Charleston or over the mountain to Madison,” Buzzard said.
Now, Kim, a mother of three children - Josie, 11, Raegan, 8, and Colby, 6, says she doesn’t have to worry about long commutes to take her children to a structured physical activity, nor does she have to worry about the temptation of driving through a drive-thru restaurant.
“It seems any time you go to Madison or Charleston, there’s a drive-thru to go through,” she said.
In an area of Boone County where there are few restaurants and fewer business aimed at family and children, the community appreciates the Buzzards’ work to meet the needs of the community.
“We live in the country and love it, but we do need more recreation,” said Linda Dunlap, a mother whose child attends ‘All About Kids.’
“This is a good, fun place for kids to interact with other kids and build teamwork. My granddaughter loves to come here and exercise. If there were more places like this, it might keep the older ones off drugs,” said area resident Sara Dotson.
In the past, the Buzzards have worked with other area no-profits to raise money for the non-profit and promote the activities at ‘All About Kids.’
This year, they plan on partnering with Amazing Grace Church.
When the pastor at Amazing Grace Church was asked to comment on the impact the Buzzards’ business is having in their community, he responded, “It’s huge. When you live in a rural area, you don’t have access to things that kids need for all-around development. Until they came here, all these kids had to travel out of town. There’s no YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs around here. Kim and Brian have made a huge contribution. You couldn’t find better people to run the place; they’re real quality people. And it really is ALL about the kids. They properly named it,” said Pastor Bart Elkins.
With the philosophy, “This is a place where you will be lifted, motivated, encouraged and inspired,” and a warning to instructors that if they’re teaching to make a lot of money, they better not quit their day job, but if they’re in it for the children, then they’ll fit in right well, ‘All About Kids’ has become a beloved haven for area families.
“Our instructors make 50% of the profit from the classes they teach. And they are all wonderful. I especially appreciate the help of Kristy Nelson, who has been here from day one and always has a smile for the kids,” Buzzard says.
“We’re really looking forward to our upcoming Showcase Day, where the kids perform what they have learned for the year,” Buzzard shares.