Renzo Pereda and Steven Toledo Build a Haven for Dogs

 

Another Jump

The first leap Renzo decided to take was in his neighborhood in Queens when, after feeling professionally aimless, he quit his restaurant job to start a dog walking business. Renzo had grown up with, and was always passionate about dogs, so the opportunity to reconnect with his canine knowledge was exciting. However, when Renzo and his partner Steven moved to the Bronx, Renzo’s commute to his Queens clientele became long and challenging. The couple was also struggling to find services for their own dog in their new neighborhood, illuminating the need for the local presence of such a business. Renzo soon realized this was his opportunity for another jump. “I was ready for my next step in my professional life. One night, Steven and I came up with the idea for Bronx Barx, and we haven’t stopped since.”

 

Making Investments

“Bronx Barx is a one-stop-shop for dogs: a place where they can socialize and burn off energy. In a hectic city like New York, it’s necessary to have these services for people who want to give their dogs a nice quality of life.” While their business’s mission was strong, Renzo and Steven soon realized they needed much more capital than they had originally thought and would need financial support. “We chose Accion because we wanted a lender with values that supports small businesses.” With their SBA 7a Community Advantage loan, they were able to afford renovations as well as purchase a van and uniforms. “Everything we received from Accion has been invested in pushing this business forward. Month by month, we keep growing.”

 

A Voice in Their Community

For Renzo and Steven, giving back is a top priority. “We’re constantly trying to find the best ways to engage with the community.” The couple recently partnered with the Animal Care Centers of NYC to host an adoption fair. They also use the space to support another cause they feel close to: LGBTQ rights. In 2018, Bronx Barx hosted the first LGBTQ expo in the Bronx. “Being gay, we strongly want to support the queer community because we’re part of that. The event felt like a safe space – something that is very necessary today.” In addition, many of Bronx Barx’s regular clients identify as LGBTQ. “It’s great that our business can be a platform for people to be supportive and connect with each other.”

 

This month, now with four full-time employees, Renzo and Steven will celebrate the year anniversary of Bronx Barx. As their business continues to grow and deepen its community roots, Renzo and Steven are excited for the future. “This year we’ve learned so much. It’s hard work but you’re working towards your dreams and there’s nothing better than that. We’re ready for whatever comes next.”