Childcare Center Opens Second Location

The owners of the Mesabi Preschool Academy say they're excited to open up a second location in the middle of downtown Duluth to serve families in the area.

DULUTH, Minn. – The owners of the Mesabi Preschool Academy say they’re excited to open up a second location in the middle of downtown Duluth to serve families in the area.

Before the start of COVID, there was a shortage of spaces in childcare facilities.

However, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a drop in enrollment, most likely due to parents who started working from home or who had lost their jobs.

“It’ll help that we’re now officially open as of tomorrow versus saying we’re going to open,” said Shelly Vanneste, the owner and executive director of Mesabi Preschool Academy. “You know, I think once we take that plunge, parents will as well. They’ll be saying, okay, now she’s open we can check it out. It was hard for people to envision my vision without it really being here.”

Mesabi’s first location in Proctor has been open for eight years and owners say branching out is something they’ve wanted to do for some time. The new location in downtown Duluth on East Superior Street is key to helping parents who specifically work at businesses near the facility. Owners say parents can easily nurse or spend time with their children during breaks or lunch.

“Seeing the people,” said Vanneste. “You know, locals that are eating their lunch break in the park or even the tourists walking around. It’s just that there’s such a happy vibe down here.”

Part of the funding from the new Mesabi location comes from the 1200 Fund, which provides loan programs to support the Duluth economy. The fund announced in December that it planned to issue a total of $500,000 to licensed child care providers in Duluth, including the Mesabi Preschool Academy’s new location.

While the infant room at the preschool academy is full, there are spaces for toddlers and preschoolers.

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