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FIO360 Daycare to close at Atlantic Station

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FIO360 Daycare to close at Atlantic Station

fio 360 daycare center  ~ what now, atlanta?

Tenant blames "slow economy." Atlantic Station in search for similar replacement.

FIO360, an upscale preschool and child care center, is closing in Midtown.

Located at Atlantic Station in "The District" near Dillard's, Fio360 will shutter on June 30th, according to Atlantic Station spokeswoman Liz Gillespie.

"We have been strong supporters of the innovative child care mission and vision of FIO360 during the five years they have been at Atlantic Station," Gillespie said in an email to What Now Atlanta Monday.  "Unfortunately, they have elected to close their doors this month due to the slow economy."

Atlantic Station’s leasing team is negotiating with other groups interested in taking the space for similar use, she said.

FIO360 is just one of the many tenants to close at the Midtown development since the developer launched what they've dubbed Atlantic Station's "evolution" -- the transition of Atlantic Station's retail mix -- to better serve the Midtown community.

Gillespie sent some statistics pulled from January through June -- the time that has elapsed since the transitional campaign launched -- of noticeable change from said "evolution."

"In the past few months we have seen a 5 percent increase in guest traffic and a 3 percent increase in sales," Gillespie said. "Some of our retailers and restaurants are seeing their best numbers since the holidays."


FIO360 Daycare

1381 Market St, Atlanta, GA 30363
Caleb J. Spivak
Caleb Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak (CJS) is the Founder of What Now Atlanta (WNA). He was featured in The New York Times, Creative Loafing's "20 People to Watch," named "Lifestyle Blogger You Need To Know" by Rolling Out Magazine and highlighted as Atlanta's Metropolitan Male in fashion magazine, 944. WNA has been named "Best of Atlanta" by Creative Loafing, and Atlanta and Jezebel Magazines.

25 responses to “FIO360 Daycare to close at Atlantic Station

  1. Tough market with not a lot of families in the area. And before we get a bunch of snide comments about the nighttime crowd at AS, this was a daytime business, so you can't connect those dots.

  2. I'd love to see this space get taken by an organization that offers less expensive daycare. We've got our son in the only affordable-yet-quality daycare that we know of in the intown area where we live. Particularly with all the families in AS, this area (and intown Atlanta in general) could really use better options for affordable daycare.

  3. That business had bigger issues. In the three years I've lived in Atlantic Station I've never seen marketing from this company. We are certainly within the age and income for their customer base. "Poor economy" is often the dying battle cry of businesses that tried to survive without advertising.

  4. Yourkidsfavoriteteacher,

    No, ghost towns have a bunch of white things moving around. That hasn't been Atlantic Station for a long time.

  5. "Increased sales and guest traffic? I'll take their word for it. I've yet to see anything new open, just more stores and restaurants closing.

  6. @yourkidsfavoriteteacher, @harry, @randy--

    The first part of the new management's plan was to remove the stores and restaurants that weren't working. Seems like they're right on track.

    I live in Atlantic Station, and the change just in the last few months has been noticeable. When was the last time you were there? Check it out on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night... it's not what it used to be. In a good way.

    More security, street performers, new events, food trucks, even down to the new shrubbery and speakers they've installed... it's changing for the better.

    Why naysay when you can instead support and help it become better?

  7. Funny how they try to convince us that stores closing up and not renewing their leases is part of the 'evolution' of Atlantic Station. I would call that desperation marketing.

  8. We had our son in daycare there. The problem wasn't the economy, but the owner. In our son's 2+ years there, he must have had 15 or so different teachers who all quit or were fired for no apparent reason. The place was billed as 'green' and organic, was both for about a year, and then neither. Teacher/student ratios went down by the month. Our boy's room basically ran out of toys. Snack time became fifteen toddlers fighting over two oranges. Crissy Klaus, the owner, wrecked that place with singular acumen. The location is great, the facilities spectacular. I hope it revives under a new owner who truly cares about her/his people: teachers, staff, parents, and children, instead of caring only about the fatness of her wallet.

  9. Green and organic for a daycare?

    Have we all lost our minds?

    I'm so tired of everything having to be green, sustainable, renewable, blah, blah, blah. It's like you slap the word "green" on something, and people suddenly feel less guilty about using it.

    I just noticed last week a "Green Jobs Center" on Piedmont and North. Really? Just how many wind turbine manufacturers are located within 5 miles of that intersection? How many homeless people two blocks down only use organic cloth grocery bags?

    I'm all for reducing, reusing and recycling. I just get tired of the marketing around it and the premiums some people are willing to pay to make themselves feel better.

  10. @Greg - Those people you refer to need to bash AS and other places as it's their only purpose in life. Their negativity is what brings smiles to their faces. I bet it's quite the sad existence.

    You are right, AS is very different now than it was. I look forward to the contuing evolution.

  11. We had enrolled our daughter to begin here tomorrow, but were fortunate enough to find care at a more convenient place. I called twice to touch base, never heard back. They cashed our check two weeks ahead of her scheduled start date, and now I find out they are closing via the internet. Guess I'll never see our $1700 now. I feel badly for the parents who are left without care.

  12. Mad Mommt…I'm sorry but you will not be getting your money back. They announced that they were closing on June 9th. There is a misquote…the school has only been operational for 3 years. It took maybe 2 years to build, but in those 3 years there have been 3 different directors…and close to 100 staff!

    I feel sorry for those parents who were blinded by the beauty of the school, because it was ugly on the inside! Crissy had the nerve to even raise tuition last month knowing damn well that she was about to close the school. Those of us staff who had been there for awhile knew that this day was coming, and got the hell out of dodge just in time.

    I worked at this school for well over a year up until recently. Everything that has been posted about events that have happened at FIO is true. A baby was indeed given the wrong breast milk (and the teacher responsible for the incident is still there), children are left in the elevators more often than reported (the previous director even left a child in an elevator before after firing others for doing the same thing), there are no art lessons (there’s art thats been on the wall for over 2 years), and the children are not fed enough!

    The owner, Crissy Klaus has been sued by former teachers for things like age discrimination and unemployment pay…and those teachers won. One won paid salary for 3 years actually. That is the kind of treatment the staff got at this school. The awesome cleaning staff was fired because they didn’t fit the owners budget anymore. These wonderful ladies who cleaned the school did an excellent job of taking out trash twice a day, washing the rugs frequently, stocking the room with trashbags and cleaning supplies, and they were truly needed by the school. Now poopy diapers sit in the class all day funking up the rooms till late afternoon. Look at the door handles too btw...they’re gross and crusted with god knows what. There is no telling how long its been since the rugs were last washed either.

    I'm surprised that when taking a tour, most parents didn't open their toys on the shelves, no supplies for the classrooms, and just the smell some of the rooms!

    Now mind you...the infant rooms operate differently than the rest of the classrooms. Most of the infant parents are happy (you’re providing most of their food and they eat as much Yummy Spoonfuls as they’d like), so you’ll rarely hear complaints from them until they get to the 1 and 2 year old rooms. The owner hurried the teachers to get the older infants on table food so that she could cut down on her budget and not spend as much money on Yummy Spoonfuls. And last month, she announced that she was going to stop providing the baby food…all the while raising tuition!

    The three classrooms for young toddlers hardly have any toys on the shelf, yet there is a boutique and storage room downstairs full of overpriced toys and products. The children who started out in the infant room 1 or 2 years ago have had at least 12-15 teachers in their lives. To me that is just a ridiculous turnover rate for what is supposed to be the best eco-friendly childcare facility ever built! The owner is trying to blame the teachers for families leaving, when actually its her poor management skills at fault. The broad is crazy...

    As far as eco-friendly...thats a load of crap to sell parents. Yes the school was built with a focus on green using zero voc paints and ceiling tiles, but those tiles are moldy and much that they closed one classroom (the first one that you see from the lobby), and there’s bulging tiles in the preschool room that were reported but still were not tended to while i was there. The ceiling tiles actually collapsed while children were present in the room!

    There is NO RECYCLING program in all those plastic baby food containers of Yummy Spoonfuls go right to the trash dump instead of being eco friendly is that? Previous teachers have tried to put a recycling program in place, and some even took it upon themselves to recycle items in the break room, but that was short lived. Those lovely heated floors no longer work in half of the rooms. They didn’t work at all this past winter in the infant rooms, where its most important because the babies spend more time on the floor. Parents got the excuse “oh it just takes awhile to heat up,” whenever they inquired about the floors not working.

    When I first started working there, we were discouraged from displaying the children’s art in the hallways because the owner feared that it would ruin the paint job. Every attempt was made by some staff to find products that wouldn’t ruin her precious paint, but she didn’t want to spend money on it. Its a preschool...not the High Museum.

    The school is on its 3rd director now. He’s a very nice and eloquent gentlemen, but I sense his frustration because he has to enforce policies from the ‘bipolar’esque’ owner Crissy.

    A lot of the food that they eat isn’t really organic anymore. There are a lot of canned foods being served now (Old El Paso anyone?). With former Chef Chris, the kids got lots of fresh cut fruits and veggies everyday. To see frozen or canned fruits being served is just another indicator of how the quality has went down with this place. Right around the time I left, we were told that the children were being ‘overfed.’ There’s no way these children are being overfed on cucumbers and hummus. Imagine how the teachers feel when a child is begging for more and we can’t give it to them? Imagine how a teacher must feel when given a single pack of crackers and a small bowl of cheese to feed 18 one/two year olds and be told “Make it work!” So the kids essentially get one cracker, 2 small cubes of cheese. The staff does indeed understand that snacks aren’t intended to make a child ‘full,’ but for damn near $1600-1700/month your child should be getting a lot more! There’s not a single obese child at FIO. So this ‘overfed’ talk is BS. Cut out the morning snack...thats fine, but this decrease in portion size is ridiculous.

    The owner ended the FIO Shoes policy, yet it was still being touted on the website. It was a good thing for children to change their shoes when they entered the building, especially in the infant rooms. No one really minded doing it. In place of that, we now have Tack/Sticky Mats at both points of entry from the lobby to the classrooms. These mats use an acrylic adhesive...not really an eco-friendly choice is it? And if i step in dog poo, rinse my shoe off, then step on this mat then its ok to walk in the room? There should at least be a no outdoor shoe policy in the infant rooms, but i guess the owner was spending too much money on shoe covers and laundry detergent to wash the slippers everyday; so these sticky mats fit right into her budget.

    Safety should be the biggest concern of questions to ask. What would happen if the school was on fire? Your child would die is the answer. Especially if your child is an infant/young toddler. The rear evacuation staircase isn’t even fireproof! At all of the centers I’ve worked at in my career, I was always trained to evacuate children from a building within 30-40 seconds. That just wasn't possible at FIO. All of these new teachers they recently hired in the past 6 months have no clue as to what to do in a fire drill. In the state of GA we’re supposed to have these drills monthly. While I was there we had them 4 or 5 times a year. When we do have a fire drill, they’ll do it around 6pm, when there’s not many kids in the building because administration knows how chaotic it will be to do it schoolwide.

    If the owner had a brain, she would’ve built the infant rooms on the ground floor. Instead, they wasted thousands of dollars on useless Safe Babies aprons that take over 60 seconds to put on and put a child in. The aprons are made for newborns with no motor skills...not the pudgy wiggly babies that are at FIO. It might work if there was a way for their feet to hang out from the aprons, but its just a pocket (google it for yourselves!). After donning this apron with four heavy wriggly babies you have to walk down several flights of stairs, put the babies in a fire proof crib, and walk across the street with the crib. Thats the idea, and thats what the infant teachers/administration are trained to tell parents. It never happened this way during our actual drills btw.

    What actually happens is that they round up every helping hand they can spare to carry two babies at a time down the stairs during the drills. How realistic is that in a real fire situation? The teachers will put on aprons, but there will maybe be one baby in it, not four. Its all a front! If the school was at capacity (32 babies in the infant room, 8 teachers) and an actual fire DID indeed break out, there’s no way those petite infant teachers will be able to carry four babies down 4 flights of stairs without some serious injury happening. Think about it folks.

    If the owner had any brains about her she would have considered this potential situation when building the school instead of what color to paint the walls.

    One of the two toilets for girls that is shared between two classrooms (the potty training age and the newer fully potty trained), was broken from Aug. 2010-Mar. 2011. So you had a total of around 18+ girls sharing one toilet between two classes. That is just gross and unsanitary. Of course the teachers reported it, but it took 7 months to get the owner to have someone come unclog it.

    Its a shame that there’s a piano downstairs, yet no music lessons have ever taken place even though there are staff on hand that can play the piano. There’s a lovely dance room with a mirrored wall that goes unused even though there are staff members classically trained in ballet and martial arts. The older preschool students do indeed do yoga, but it was something that was enacted by their teachers, rather than by the school. With resources such as these you would think that more activities would be offered, but the owner will not give these teachers the slightest raise to make it happen, so talent goes by unused and unnoticed.

    There is no curriculum which is one of the major downfalls of this school. They will tell you that there are FIO’s “Four E's of Early Education,” but I dare you parents to ask any teacher what those 4 approaches are and how they apply to the classroom. I BET none would know. These new teachers don’t even know what FIO means, or get the concept of ‘to become 360 (whole).’ This so-called approach is just wall art, where its posted across from the office. The staff was never told or given a break down on how to apply this FIO approach to our lesson plans and daily routines. We came to work one day and saw it on the explanation or description. We even had a staff meeting in February to discuss our opinions on what kind of curriculum we would like to utilize, and we agreed to a hybrid-approach, but since then there’s been two meetings and nothing has ever come of it, nor has it come up again.

    The teacher:student ratio is a joke as well. Yeah the ratio is in fact lower than the state’s required ratio, but what they sell to parents isn’t often the case of how things really are. During the tour they’ll say...”oh we have a low 1:8 ratio in our preschool room,” but the preschool teacher is often left with 10-12 kids by himself during the day because ‘he can handle it.’ Just because one can handle it does not mean that they do not need support to get things done in the classroom. Its even worse in the 2 year old room with staff being over ratio all the time. Its frustrating to the staff to say the least.

    The teachers had NO SUPPORT from administration. The owner limits our ability to do our jobs well by criticizing every single activity we would like to do for the children, which eventually makes us unmotivated to even try after awhile. The preschool children have never been on a field trip (don’t be fooled by the pics from when they went to a disappointing petting zoo in the Atlantic Station courtyard that featured 3 animals that weren’t really ‘pettable.’) despite attempts from parents and staff to do so. You would think that with the Jim Henson Co. designing the playroom downstairs that the school would be affiliated with the Center for the Puppetry Arts...but no.

    I'm glad the school is closing. Last year the younger preschool room lost 15+ children within 2 weeks. The owner tried to compete with schools like Suzuki, but wasn’t prepared to lose most of her money to The Children’s School, and now the new Primrose. These are establishments and programs that have been around for years and have...gasp!...actually proven curriculums that work! You can’t compete with that!

    Someone mentioned about how the students from FIO go on to be accepted into Atlanta International School, Westminister, Galloway and The Childrens School. The owner sits on the board for AIS, so of course most of the kids get accepted there. She and her husband also just donated an ENTIRE FOOTBALL FIELD to AIS! This pisses me off when we had to ask parents to donate construction paper to our school. And if you can pay full tuition chances are you will indeed get into these other schools. All of the preschool teachers that were there did foster a wonderful spirit that is passed on to the children, so I think that has more to do with it more than the school itself.

    FIO was doing well with the Pyramid Approach, and they should have stuck with that. Its come to the point before I left where the owner had started sending home staff early everyday whenever the class was in ratio to save her money. This means that staff who were used to working 40 hours a week suddenly were reduced to 25-30 hours to save her pockets. Staff turnover only got worse...I’m sure I’ve seen at least 70 people come and go since I was there. The owner has no compassion about these children or her staff. She’ll sit there biting her nails nervously when faced with confrontation from parents and cry. As the owner of ‘the nation’s 1st eco-friendly school‘ you would think that she’d have more backbone than that! Most parents were fed up with all the changes with staff and policies. There was no consistency at this school. Thats all the parents and staff wanted...consistency and support.

    The administration needs to let the teachers do their jobs by educating these children instead of imposing Gestapo tactics on the staff and families. The former director would often eavesdrop on conversations amongst staff and parents in the classrooms through the telephones. How conniving is that!
    This newly formed parent board is a dim light for FIO. There’s a lot more going on in this school internally that you parents can’t change. The staff really does appreciate your support and efforts though! The previous parent committee was called ‘rogue’ by the owner, when these parents just wanted the best opportunities for their children and the school.

    The tuition you parents were paying barely touches the amount she has to pay in rent. Crissy, you ran a beautiful concept into the ground. This school was the laughing stock of childcare centers in Atlanta anyways. Parents, take your money elsewhere and get your children an education where they will truly FIO360 (become whole/complete).

  13. As a former employee of Crissy Klaus....I can assure everyone that she is indeed CRAZY! Whether it's drug-induced or is really a bipolar disorder, please stay far away from this woman!!! She is evil, mean & cares only about her $$$. Most suspect that is the only reason she married her husband. She is manipulative, conniving & sneaky. She is critical, never satisfied (even with her own ideas put into place) & will run a person in the ground. Her poor children & husband!! Hopefully, she will stay home & take care of her own family now!!

  14. Ahh... Another one bites the dust at Atlantic Station.
    I love the new tag line.. "This is the Spot" ! THAT FAILED.

    Kind of elementary, see "spot" run, see "spot" jump, see "spot" fall on his ass.

    But you need not worry, and please - (certainly correct me if I'm wrong) but, I think I remember a certain "employee of a management company" that said, "we have more than enough resources and funds to close and rebuild Atlantic Station they way we want it". Looks like they're headed in just that path.

    I like to think of that as talking out of your ass and not knowing what your lips are saying.

    You can paint an old car with new paint, but, if it runs like shit, its still going to run like shit.

    Sure - "Atlantic Station would like someone to fill the space with the same thing", what in the hell else are you going to put there, its already built out for a day care, who wants the expense of tearing it out? Its sitting on top of vacant space now - overlooking an interstate and a parking garage and will one day have a building in front of it..
    Great spot for a children's day care.

    And, get your facts straight "LIZ GILLESPIE" they weren't there for 5 years, 3 at best. check the facts.. Was that the same report that your figures came from with increased traffic and increased sales.. I certainly hope not, because not having your facts straight, makes you look bad and that you don't know the truth. (but,of course that's my opinion) but, I would have had ALL the facts straight, before I opened my mouth.

    I can't imaging having a day care at Atlantic Station how many robberies, break in, kidnapping attempts, tire slashings, bomb threats, does one place need to have (in recent months), BEFORE you think about putting in a children's day care? OH WAIT.. is this part of the evolution?

    And, if Atlantic Station really has the "resources" then put it into the businesses that are there, if they really wanted to keep the tenants then they would have done some advertising for the group, they would have cut rents and they would have made it work. Period.

    Bottom line is NEXT is NEXT!

    Buying "extra speakers" and putting in a bunch of planted pots isn't making it better and its certainly not an "evolution" its a paint job on a shitty running car.

    If you keep turning to the same old thing and doing the same old thing.. you get the same old thing. its called history repeating itsself and that's what's Atlantic Station has done for years.

    Get rid of the old "marketing team" that is still there and get rid of the ego's.... calling them a "dream team" is so correct, because you're dreaming if you think anything is going to change. You can't even get your facts staight, how embarassing - for you.

    Someone needs to come in and clean house and start over - quietly.

    Know what you saying.. if not just keep your trap shut.
    I don't need to hear about your ego and what you're going to do. DO IT.
    And stop asking and stop sending our surveys, figure it out already, .

    and stop telling people that you're the new owners, when you are a shareholder and work for the management company. Because the group that holds the 95% share isn't you.

    That's like me taking my 5% share in say a major soft drink company based right here in Atlanta and saying I own the company. I don't, you don't, stop.

    Bottom line here folks, Atlantic Station will still be here years from now, just like Underground is still here.. nothing is changing but the tenants and the management team and the paint job.

    Hey Liz...doing a heck of a job there.. NEXT!

  15. And Greg.. nice comments..

    Really.. Come on... Give the rest of us some credit dude.

    Don't put people down for giving their opinions and thoughts, when you work for the company to support them.

    greg_fitz Greg Fitzgerald
    Aspiring member of the creative class. Freewheeling social animal. Digital specialist @AtlanticStation & @NAPatl. Creative marketing can make lives better.


  17. I heard that Atlantic Station was built on the gravesite of an old iron baron's home and now the daughter of the old iron baron, Deidre of the Sorrows, haunts the place and makes stores fail. She also causes the caps lock to suddenly engage when people write posts about AS.

  18. @former employee
    I enjoyed working with you, despite the stress from Crissy and admin! Crissy actually married her husband before they were billionaires…but that still doesn't take away the fact that she's selfish and a disgusting human being.
    One of her kids is very sick…but karma's a mofo. She didn't do right by any of the children there at FIO, so naturally her child is ill. The sins of a mother…
    I sincerely hope that he recovers, and that she spends time with them now instead of all the help she has for 2 kids.
    Its very true though that she and her billionaire husband just donated an football stadium to Atlanta International School. Just google Crissy Klaus and AIS.

    What is even more messed up is that she knew she was going to close the doors months ago! She made all employees sign a handbook that was effective May 1st, that pretty much stated that if the school closed, we wouldn't get our Paid Time Off or other benefits that we accrued. So quite a few employees got the shaft, without noticing that hidden clause in the new handbook. She set us up for failure!
    We should have listened to Ms.Angie…LOL!

    As far as Atlantic Station goes…I give it less than 10 years before it turns straight up into a ghetto. We even had a teacher who had her car broken into RIGHT AT THE ENTRANCE of the school. Parents have had their purses snatched in AS as well. We've all heard about the prostitution ring going on at Twelve…

    I hope the new company that moves into the space does right and actually cares about the precious children there…and offer childcare thats NOT $1600+/month!

  19. I have a young infant and fio360 was a top choice for me when I was looking at places to visit in order to find a suitable daycare for my daughter. I went online and found scathing reviews from former employees but I thought "oh well; they are probably bitter and upset; - let me give it a chance". I sent an email asking to schedule an appointment and got a call 7 days later. The time I proposed did not work for the director (Mark Davis) and we went back and forth for a while (my fault as my daughter kept us up all night)and when I finally made it there, the hairs at the back of my neck stood up. I can't explain it but I wanted to get the hell out of there!

    The receptionist was very polite and got a hold of Mark who gave me the grand tour. When we got to the infant room; I noted that the infant playroom was very dull and did not have any toys. The teachers in the room had each been working there for less than 6 months despite years of experience which raised a red flag for me. I believe one had 20+ years and another had excellent education credentials. We then took and elevator to the play area (on the rorooftop) and I can see how a child can easily be left in there - which again made me nervous; we toured the rest of the classrooms but I really cannot put my finger on it but something JUST DID NOT FEEL RIGHT! and although it was only going to be a short 10 minute drive from my job; I could not wait to get out of that place.

    I could tell that Mark (the director) was enthusiastic about the school, he mentioned that he had implemented a number of changes in his short tenure - I believe he said that he had been working there for 6 months ...maybe less? Long story short; they always say to go with your gut; and I am glad I listened. My daughter is scheduled to start at a different school and I'm very happy and excited!

  20. Thanks so much exFIO360teacher for your thorough honest post. How can a parent find these things out about a school on the front end? Where do we send our children now since I am more than paranoid now.

  21. I wish some of the formers teachers would have reported these conditions to child welfare or the news; therefore the owner could have had tougher consequences. I hope she never operates another childcare facility.

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