When Tony Carusso walked into a Camp Bow Wow franchise in 2007, he knew his life was about to change. The leasing company he worked for was closing and Tony was contemplating his next move. “When I saw happy dogs playing side by side, I just felt that I belonged in this business,” said Carusso. Only 29 when he started, Carusso says, “It was the best move of my life.”
Armed with a cash bonus, retirement funds, and the determination to succeed, Carusso went looking for a bank loan to help him purchase his own franchise. As the recession deepened and credit tightened in 2007, Carusso worried whether he’d be able to get a loan. But the self-proclaimed numbers geek put together a thorough business plan with financial projections that impressed the bank.
The company received an SBA 504 loan for $413,000 and an SBA guaranteed loan for $183,200. “The process was easy and the SBA did a great job,” said Carusso.
The Colorado-based franchise was the perfect match for Carusso, who is a strong proponent of the all-day play concept that sets the company apart. The opportunity to own Camp Bow Wow allows Carusso to combine his passion for dogs and good business sense. And it has given him the chance to work with dog shelters and animal adoption societies and give back to his community.
As he looks to expand his business, he reflects on where he’s been over the last five years. “I’ve met so many people because of this business. I’ve built relationships. This place has become like a family. Thanks to the SBA, I’m living my passion.”