Classes will soon be in session for a new Innsbrook-area preschool and daycare provider.
Celebree School plans to open its first Richmond-area location this summer at 3641 Cox Road, which is in the Shoppes at Twin Oaks shopping center. Local franchisee Vakul Goel said more local outposts are expected to follow.
Celebree offers daycare, preschool and summer programs for children six weeks to 12 years old. The school, which has a lease on a roughly 10,700-square-foot space, hopes to get licensed for about 170 children.
Franchisees are permitted to set their own rates, and Goel said it was too soon to say what his price points will be.
“I’m going to be charging what a premier school is charging,” he said.
Goel said the school will have 30 full-time employees and hiring is underway.
The plan is to open two or three more Celebree locations once the Innsbrook location is up and running. Goel hasn’t settled on where those locations would go, and said the search would begin in earnest once the first school opens.
Goel said the buildout for the school will cost $2.5 million. Dominion Construction Partners is the general contractor and the project architecture firm is Reston-based Architecture Inc.
Opening the school is a career change for Goel, a Henrico resident with a background in IT and account management. He said franchising appealed to him as a way to create a sense of ownership and community in his life. He intends to run the local Celebree franchise full time once the first school opens.
After considering different industries and companies, he decided to get into childcare in part due to the joy he has experienced as a father. His two children are 12 and 8.
“The two kids I have are almost grown up and they certainly played a big part in choosing childcare,” he said. “Working with them and hanging out with them gives you a feeling of satisfaction to see them grow and do the right things.”
Celebree stood out in particular because of its recent entry into franchising and its growth plans.
“They started expanding into franchising two or three years ago right before the pandemic,” Goel said. “When I signed the agreement with them, I signed it because I want to open multiple schools in the Richmond area.”
Celebree was founded in 1994 and is based in Maryland. It launched its franchise program in 2019, and opened the first franchise location in Maryland a couple years later.
The company has about 40 locations listed on its website as open or soon-to-be open, most of which are in Maryland and three in or planned for Northern Virginia.
Celebree’s lease spans suites A through E of 3641 Cox Road, giving it the lion’s share of the retail strip it will share with Chicago’s Pizza With A Twist.
The shopping center was formerly home to Natalie’s Taste of Lebanon, which is relocating to Stratford Hills Shopping Center.