Business Spotlights

Business Profile: Little Feet Daycare, Carmel

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Nov. 11 Putnam BOW PixBy Tiffany Jansen

Darlene Roveto had just begun her clinical rotations for nursing school when a colleague recommended that she get some experience working with children to enhance her resume. As luck would have it, a friend of Darlene’s was busy running a daycare out of her home in the Bronx and was more than happy to take Darlene on as a part-time employee.

Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances her friend had to dissolve her daycare business just three months into Darlene’s time there. She looked around at the families and employees who now had nowhere to go and knew she had to do something.

So she talked it over with her husband Scott, and they decided to start their own group family daycare in the basement of their home in the Bronx. They ran the center out of their home for another 15 years.

Looking for a change of scenery for their own family, the Rovetos closed the doors on their first daycare in 2010 and moved from the city to Carmel. By 2012, with three of their four children out of the house and empty nest syndrome setting in, the Rovettos knew it was time to get back into the daycare business.

Their basement was once again transformed into a daycare facility, complete with a separate toddler room, infant room, and pre-kindergarten room. In no time, Little Feet Daycare had nabbed an award for Best New Group Family Daycare by the Council of Putnam-Dutchess.

“We were doing really well before, but that award escalated us into another hemisphere,” Scott says. “After a while, we had to turn parents away and we hated to do that.”

So they went in search for a larger facility to house their growing business. After visiting countless facilities and not finding one with the right structure and atmosphere, they realized they’d need to build their own.

Eventually, they found the perfect property overlooking Lake Gleneida and began designing their state-of-the-art daycare center. This past August, Scott was handed the keys to the new Little Feet Daycare Center. By September, they’d add over 50 families to their roster and on October 28, they celebrated with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, which was attended by county, town, and chamber of commerce officials as well as staff, clients, family, and friends.

The facility measures in at 13,000 square feet with a 2,500 square foot outdoor play area. Inside is a sick room, an indoor play area in case of inclimate weather, pumping areas with storage for nursing mothers, toddler rooms, infant rooms, pre-k and kindergarten rooms, and before- and after-school classrooms.

“Unlike most daycare centers, we actually teach following New York State standards,” Scott says. “We have 23 teachers working here, which makes us the second highest employer of teachers in the county outside of Putnam County Schools.”

Also, on offer are yoga classes and occupational and speech therapy. Little Feet Daycare also collaborates with the local library and fire department to provide enrichment opportunities for the children.

All meals are prepared on site according to menus and prepared by licensed nutritionists. And on staff are several medicine administration trained employees. The Rovetos are also looking to offer a scholarship and welcome for mentoring any high school seniors interested in pursuing careers in nursing or teaching.

With the success of the new daycare facility (they were already at 75 percent capacity by the grand opening), Scott and Darlene are looking to open additional facilities in the next few years.

“Right now we’re in negotiations to open a Little Feet Daycare 2 in Northern Westchester and are hoping to open the new facility in September 2016,” Scott says. “We want to eventually be tri-county.”

“We’ve lived in NYC our entire lives, so we came here not knowing anyone,” Scott says. “But when I presented this business idea to the town of Carmel and officials in Putnam County, they accepted us with open arms. Without the assistance of the local government, we never would have been able to do this.”

Little Feet Daycare Center is located at 1611 Route 6 in Carmel. For more information, call 845-225-6818 or visit

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