Entrepreneurs end child care desert

As Air Force veteran Bobby Heath retired, he and his wife Kim left their last station in El Paso and moved to the rural community of Cross Plains. They had family there and liked the tight knit community. Their son liked the town so much he opted to go to high school there. After moving, “We wanted to open a business,” said Kim Heath. “We started asking people what does this community need?” The response was a day care.

“The community needs it; both parents here work or need to, employers need it to hire parents,” said Kim. “That’s why we decided to do this, we wanted to build the community stronger and give back.”

No licensed daycare facility existed in the town of nearly 1,000 people, located approximately 45 miles southeast of Abilene. Kim Heath, a 25-year career childcare professional, and her husband Bobby, retiring from the Air Force after 29 years, took the plunge into small business ownership. With help from the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Veteran Entrepreneur Program, they launched Little Buffaloes, LLC, in March 2022 branding the childcare with the town’s school mascot.

“Then, they took advantage of the 5% loan rate for veterans and  families, offered through Peoplefund, a Community Development Funding Institution,” said TVC Veteran Entrepreneur Program Business Consultant Christina Mortel. “The loan funded the renovation and the purchase of adjacent land to expand the playground and parking lot, along with needed classroom and playroom supplies.”

In July 2022, the Heaths purchased an old church building no longer in use in Cross Plains with their own funds.  “The owners were among the last congregants and at first, not sure about selling. They were good with it when they learned it was for a day care,” said Kim.

In addition to assisting with the business plan and loan preparation, Mortel, an Army veteran, assisted the Heaths with the Texas Workforce Commission’s Child Care Expansion Initiative grant. CCRF 2022 Update ( By the standards of the grant, Cross Plains is considered a child care desert, which is defined a location that has 3.5 x more children, 0-6 years, than there are child care spaces available. The child care grant provides funds to train employees, for materials and other equipment to meet operational requirements. Little Buffalos was awarded the grant in November 2022.

“Christina helped with the business plan, loan and connected me to someone to put the loan together. She found these grants for me. There were so many times I was ready to give up. She is my rock and support,” said Kim.

Currently, the facility is still being developed. Like many businesses, it has experienced delays caused by supply chain issues.

The facility must be completely set up before a licensing plan to open can be obtained.

With the planned daycare opening in early 2023, Kim anticipates that Little Buffaloes will be able to support 42 children and hire 12 people-8 full time and 4 part- time employees.

Though not open yet “Our community is ecstatic. People periodically stop by to see the remodeling,” said Kim.

If you would like to connect with the TVC Entrepreneur Team, visit .

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