Amanda Cochran saw potential for growth in Wilmington's Sylvan Learning Center at 4130 Oleander Drive.
Cochran, the new owner of the tutoring center in the Port City, is a former public school teacher who also owns the Sylvan Learning Center in Jacksonville.
"I've actually been involved with Sylvan Learning Center since I graduated college with my teaching degree in 2009," said Cochran, who got her degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in elementary education with a minor in art history.
She left Sylvan for a couple of years to teach full time before coming back as a tutor and purchasing the Jacksonville location in 2017.
The opportunity arose to buy the Wilmington center, on which she closed for an undisclosed amount in September. The previous owner was Kelly Conway.
"It was not something I was pursuing. I was very content with just having one center in Jacksonville, but after coming and seeing the center, I just felt like we've been very successful in Jacksonville and we could bring the Wilmington center to that same level of success," Cochran said. "I believe in Sylvan; I believe in what we do and helping children become academically successful.
"And I really wanted to see the Wilmington center grow."
The standard hourly rate for tutoring services at the Wilmington center is about $56.
As with all instruction, COVID-19 temporarily changed the way Sylvan worked.
"We had to quickly adapt to a different platform. Until then, students came to us," she said. "We tutor here in the center; we do face-to-face instruction."
The centers are now back to in-person instruction and demand is high, as parents have been able to watch their children learning from home and see the struggles.
"We've had a lot more families that are wanting their children to come to the center," Cochran said. "Online learning is great; there's a lot of resources, but there's nothing that replaces that small-setting, face-to-face instruction so we're kind of seeing a shift back to parents wanting to come back into the center to get in-person instruction."