We had the good fortune of connecting with Kierstin Benitez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kierstin, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I would say the most important factor, which i’m sure everyone says, is staying true to yourself. I do not bend to make things work. I believe in myself and what i have created and it keeps growing and becomes more successful everyday. I always knew when i had a team that i would treat them the way i always wish i was treated. They are truly what makes my business run. They keep this business running smooth, which makes the clients happy. That is the biggest role in the success and opportunities that have been created.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are a 6,000sqft facility in the heart of Orlando that specializes in pet care. Our main business is our dog day camp and boarding. We are not your average facility, and you get the sense of that when you walk into the building. Its a very bright and open, modern take on our industry. We are also a trainer owned and operated facility so our employees are top notch in by specializing in dog behavior , safety, and cleanliness. Bark Orlando also loves to partner with other small businesses and be very present in the community.

I wouldn’t say it was easy, but i definitely took small and the right avenues to make it happen. It was not easy being patient. I started just as a dog trainer and worked my way up to more services until i secured a brick and mortar location that was 700sqft. It seems so small now but that was huge to me at the time. I waited until we were truly outgrowing it and in the time found a dream location. It was just meant to be. As far as challenges, i believe i prepared and braced myself for everything. I became very educated and aware so those challenges did not seem like challenges.

I think the biggest lesson is just do not try to take on everything at once. Their was a point where i became so stress that i was saying to myself “i wish i was not in this position and it would be nice to be working for someone else”. It is hard being completely in charge and making all the decisions. I took a step back and handed over more responsibilities to my employees so i could take a break and i learned to not say yes to everything.

I think that is possible to come from nothing and still be something. I came from a very hard place that made me the who i am and the way i am today. I dropped out of high school at 16 to help with family, never went to college, experienced some close heartbreaking deaths in my teenage years. It sounds so cliche but anything is possible and sometimes when it feels like the end of the world its just the beginning.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well i am in Orlando and from Orlando! I think i have experienced or done most of the things here and one thing i will tell you to avoid or only go to once would probably be the theme parks. There is so many cool things around here. I would first off make sure you take a trip to some of the bars in the Mills50 area. You can catch me at Tori Tori, Guest House, and Wills pub, sports town typically if i am going to go out. They also have GREAT food here. I love Pop Thai, Tamale Co, Pig Floyds, Delaney Tavern, Lukes Kitchen , Lindas La Cantina and El molcajete . There are hundres more, im telling you, our food scene is so so good. I always recommend checking out the springs around here! Blue springs, kelly springs, its hard to go wrong. Live music over at Tuffys in Sanford, and i always recommend to go checkout Sanford in general. There are a ton of great small businesses so its also great to hit up ivanhoe village, audubon park and the milk district.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandparents. I truly do not think i would be where i am today without their support. They have always encouraged me and told me how amazing even my smallest achievements were as a kid. They continue that support and see where i am at today. Their response is always funny but always “We knew you were going to do it” . I have been through a lot and they have always been by my side even still today. My grandpa religiously watches the companies social media during the day and my grandma brags to all her friends. Im always just working to impress them and myself. Hi Gram and Pop!

Website: www.barkorlando.com

Instagram: @barkorlando

Facebook: /barkorlando

Image Credits
Owner Photo- Lauren Schoepfer Orlando Photographer Store photos and interior design- Billie Design Studio

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