David and Julia Shelton didn’t set out to become entrepreneurial educators. Rather, they claim it was a convergence of passion, opportunity, and timing.
The couple is preparing to open Primrose School of Preston Hollow by the end of this year, after renovations are completed to a building in the Preston-Royal Office Park.
But their ownership of the facility came about almost by accident. David was familiar with the Primrose preschool model through his work with the company for almost 15 years in retail real estate.
In the case of the Preston Hollow location, David brokered a deal for another franchisee who wound up moving to California.
“We found ourselves in a position where we had a real-estate deal and nobody to do it,” said David, who is a Park Cities native. “It was a great opportunity.”
Julia, meanwhile, is a former middle-school and high-school teacher in Dallas and Plano who had taken a few years off to help raise the couple’s two young daughters.
“I always had planned to get back into the education field,” she said. “This is a natural next step.”
Primrose, which has more than 40 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, uses a balanced curriculum for infants through pre-kindergarteners that includes both lessons from teachers and activities driven by the children.
David said the combination of education and childcare provides a unique niche in a neighborhood with plenty of private-school options.
“There’s a lot of name recognition for the brand,” he said. “We don’t see ourselves as a competitor to the private schools that are here, but a complement to them.”
The two-story building will include about 15,000 square feet of space, licensed to accommodate a maximum of 200 children. In a reversal from the norm, the first floor has required the most work, since it previously was a drive-through for a bank that was located above.
While David will work mostly behind the scenes, Julia will be at the school every day. The couple currently is hiring staff and marketing to parents, and said the response has been great so far.
“The stars really aligned for us,” David said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to do something for the community that’s meaningful and impactful.”