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Once Is Not Enough

Photo of Rhonda and Tim Hatfield

Brief description of the business:  Rhonda Hatfield is the personification of the serial entrepreneur. In February 2004, she and her husband Tim opened Little Scholars, Inc. childcare center in Louisville, KY. Rhonda had a vision to offer premier childcare services in an area of Louisville that had not been offered in that area of the city. The center was so successful that a second location was opened less than a mile away in 2007, and that business also flourished. 

In 2013, Rhonda sold the business and began searching for her next entrepreneurial voyage. She settled on a spa concept that evolved in 2014 into Blue Halo Med Spa, a day spa that offers a customized spa program, including an extensive array of wellness services, for its patrons.

SBA Assistance:Rhonda Hatfield used the Louisville SBDC office for budgeting, management and marketing assistance multiple times starting in 2003, and she continues to use the SBDC for assistance to this day. She obtained an SBA 504 loan to renovate the first childcare center in 2003, a second 504 loan in 2007 as well as an SBA ARC loan in 2009 to assist with cash flow challenges caused by the recession.

Rhonda also obtained an SBA Express Loan in 2015 for building improvements and equipment before opening Blue Halo Med Spa, which is focused on “delivering the best medi spa experience” in the region. Blue Halo offers facials, massages, body treatments, salt therapies, tanning services, laser treatments and more.

The staff focuses on wellness programs for clients and includes a nurse practitioner, physical therapist and most recently has services provided daily to Blue Halo patients by medical doctor who specializes in bariatric procedures, which deals with the control and treatment of obesity and related diseases, as well as wound care and cosmetic procedures.

The new business is going so well that Rhonda Hatfield is planning a second location for next year, and the SBA Express Loan will be paid off very soon. She proclaims that the small business services she and Tim received were crucial to the success that they have enjoyed. Rhonda said, “I mean this from the bottom of my heart, the SBDC and SBA resources made all the difference in our success. I will be forever grateful!”         

Number of employees:

  • 5 full-time employees and 9 part-time employees and contractors for the spa
  • 45 full-time and 35 part-time employees for the childcare centers

Staying power: The childcare industry is highly fragmented, labor-intensive and can be extremely competitive. Therefore, cash flow must be well monitored and managed. Rhonda Hatfield found that to be the case with her childcare centers. Also, the management skills required to start a business are not usually the same skills needed to lead a growing business with many more employees and obligations. Despite these challenges and the severe downturn in the economy from 2009 – 2011, the company was able to be sold for a substantial profit in 2012.

The spa industry is also fragmented and labor intensive, but profit margins can be substantially higher than those in the childcare industry. Rhonda took the lessons learned in managing and leading a childcare center that focused on quality programs for Blue Halo Med Spa.

Response to adversity or problems: Rhonda Hatfield experienced severe growing pains with her Little Scholars locations. Like any company managing rapid growth, Little Scholars had cash shortages caused by not only by the expansion to a second location by also by Great Recession, when many working parents lost jobs and state agencies paid childcare reimbursements more slowly. Despite these challenges, and with assistance from the Louisville SBDC and SBA loans, Rhonda was able to steer her company through threatening business conditions, sell the two Little Scholars locations and open a beautiful med spa with an SBA Express loan.

Community Involvement: Rhonda and Tim Hatfield have been actively involved in the following community projects: 

  • Fall festivals for the neighborhood
  • Dare to Care
  • Heart Association Heart Walk
  • Collections for children with cancer
  • Provided 9 – 10 scholarships for disadvantaged families and at least 50% discount on childcare for employees and military veterans
Company Name: 
Blue Halo Med Spa, Inc.
Location: 
Louisville, KY