Born in Peru, Stefannie Sanchez moved to the United States with her family when she was young. Without speaking any English, she came to Ohio with hopes of building a new life.
Sanchez comes from a family of entrepreneurs and her Dad owned his first business by the time he was 18-years old. She always admired his work ethic and dedication to his business, but never thought her life would follow the same path.
“Until you get an idea that you’re passionate about – it doesn’t seem realistic,” said Sanchez. For her, it was the overwhelming love she had for her dog, Jake. She would take him to dog parks all around Columbus, but there was never a place where she could incorporate both her social lifestyle and energetic puppy. She started putting together ideas of starting an indoor dog park and by 2012, she left her corporate job to pursue her dreams in entrepreneurship.
Sanchez knew she needed to develop a business plan and secure financing among other priorities. She met with David Rivers, Business Advisor at the Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Columbus State Community College (CSCC) for assistance and business counseling. Through collaboration, the SBDC at CSCC worked with Sanchez and connected her to community resources and helped her secure a small business loan through a local credit union.
Tail Wags Playground, located in Grandview, Ohio, officially opened its doors in March 2016. They offer an off-leash playground with toys and equipment, along with an on- leash coffee and lounge area for dog owners and their dogs. Currently, she has five part-time employees and looks to hire more in the future. “Whenever you do something for the first time, there is always risk involved,” said Sanchez. “With encouragement from family, friends, colleagues and guidance from the Ohio SBDC I was able to take that leap.”