Casa de Corazón, a Minnesota-based chain of Spanish immersion early childhood centers, plans to open its first Wisconsin franchise in the former Goldi building in Shorewood.
Nicholas Plummer, a Minnesota resident who is planning to open one of the early childhood centers in Shorewood, said the school has signed a letter of intent to occupy the building at 4114 N. Oakland Ave., pending conditional use permit approval from the city.
The 10,000-square-foot building was formerly home to Goldi, a boutique and gift shop, until the store closed in 2014.
Planned renovations of the building include creating three infant rooms, three toddler rooms, and four classrooms for pre-schoolers, an indoor play space, a commercial kitchen and nursing facilities, Plummer said. It will also have a 3,200-square-foot playground.
Casa de Corazon centers provide Spanish immersion child care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, ranging in age from six-weeks to five-years-old. It expects to serve 124 students and have 30 employees.
The chain has four locations in the Twin Cities. Natalie Standridge, owner of Casa de Corazon, said the network has decided to bring its programming to Wisconsin after conducting a demographic study of cities across the country.
“We looked at what communities were in need of programming like this, what communities were in line with the types of families that we serve and employees that we employ. And one of them was the greater Milwaukee area,” she said. “What we’re trying to do through franchising is bring our unique model of child care to new communities.”
In addition to offering Spanish immersion instruction, the school serves only farm-to-table food from local farmers.
“That’s unique to the child care industry,” Standridge said. “We’re boiling and pureeing 100 percent certified organic fruits and vegetables for the infants and making from scratch breakfast, lunch and snacks for the toddlers and pre-schoolers throughout the day.”
Plummer said he plans to work with farmers markets in Shorewood and Whitefish Bay to source the school’s produce.
The school is expected to open at the end of the year or in early 2019, Plummer said. The Shorewood plan commission will consider the school’s conditional use permit on July 24.