Wayne County child care center closing, giving parents just 10 days notice

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Many families whose children attend the Tot Spot child care center in Ontario, Wayne County, are upset and frustrated after learning Monday night the facility is closing in less than two weeks.

Owners Mark and Wendy Mendola cited "semi-retirement” as a reason for shutting down. They also state in the letter they decided to close during the "slowest, least impactful time of the year."

However, that still does not satisfy many families. Tot Spot closes in 10 days on July 16.

“Why such a short timeline? What happened to make you decide randomly at 5:45 p.m. on a Monday night to close,” John Nadig, who has three children attending the Tot Spot for the past two years, asked.

This is the biggest question Nadig, his wife, and dozens of other parents have about the sudden closure.

“If there were any indications that you were going to be doing it, why not say, ‘by the end of the summer, we’re going to be closing, we’re reducing hours to save money, we’re reducing hours to save staff’?” Nadig said.

Many parents wrote into News10NBC and voiced their frustration about the Mendolas decision. Some say it is a race to find anything similar to what Tot Spot offers in Wayne County. For example, universal pre-kindergarten programs.

"My middle son is going to be going to UPK in September," Nadig. "He was scheduled to go to UPK at that center [Tot Spot], and it’s one of three centers in the area that provide UPK, and now that’s gone."

The Child Care Council, a Child Care Aware Quality Assured agency that provides information, training, and resources to child care providers and parents in Livingston, Monroe, and Wayne counties, says this closure is yet another pandemic-related blow.

"With the pandemic, especially Wayne County, Livingston County, and even Monroe County, those are the counties that we serve, and they got hit really hard,” Jeffrey Pier, executive director of the Child Care Council said. “We lost a lot of centers and a lot of programs. We are in the rebuilding phase right now, so to lose a program this size definitely hurts the industry.”

Now, the pressure is on for these Tot Spot parents.

"Stress. Absolute stress. It’s just the unknown, and I think it’s coupled with the fact that it’s been like that for a year and a half. Just the stress of everything and now the daycare is gone," Nadig said. "What if we can’t find another one? What if our children have to stay home and I have to not work? What if I don’t have an option and I have to stay home and I don’t have a job anymore?”

News10NBC’s reporter Jenny Ly reached out to the Tot Spot, but Mark Mendola declined to comment. Ly also searched the Division of Child Care Services’ database online, and there are no active violations, citations, or enforced closures reported.

If your family is directly impacted by Tot Spot’s closure, the Child Care Council says there are alternative options, such as family and group providers. For more information on how the Child Care Council can help, visit their website or call (585) 654-4720.