Our spotlight shines this week on Lisa Vargas, owner of Bark Out Loud. As Golden Hill’s hub for pet owners, Bark Out Loud offers full-service grooming, daycare, and more. Vargas and her team, with big smiles and a lot of patience, help local pets look and feel their absolute best.
San Diego is in love with its pets. According to a WalletHub study in 2021, San Diego ranks 9th overall in a list of pet-friendly US cities. We have an abundance of pet-friendly restaurants and dog parks meaning you’re bound to see a wagging tail just about wherever you go. That’s why having a high-quality, trustworthy team to safely leave your pet with is so important.
It’s no surprise that Lisa Vargas, owner of Bark Out Loud, has been successful in Golden Hill. As the community’s only brick-and-mortar pet services business, Bark Out Loud is a hub for pet owners. Located at 1039 25th Street, Bark Out Loud offers full-service dog grooming alongside daycare, healthy pet treats and food, and accessories.
Vargas launched Bark Out Loud in 2017 after 10 years managing and grooming for a corporate pet store. It was during this time Vargas met Vince Valdez, the man she would partner with to run Bark Out Loud. Having worked closely with Valdez, Vargas knew he had the skill and patience to help her run a successful business of their own.
Choosing a storefront came rather easy for Vargas. “A couple of friends mentioned this great location in Golden Hill that we (my husband and I) couldn’t let pass by,” says Vargas. That advice came from Vargas’s friend, Antonette Villa, owner of Studio HBA, which opened at 2507 C Street in 2016. The longtime friends are now storefront neighbors and continue to support each other’s success.
When asked what inspired her to become a small business owner, Vargas replied, “I wanted to make my dad proud. He always pushed me to be more.” Now in its fifth year in business, Bark Out Loud has become more than Vargas could have dreamed of. The business has tremendous support from repeat customers with whom Vargas has built strong relationships.
“The people,” says Vargas in response to my question about her favorite part of running a business in Golden Hill. “Everyone I meet is always so nice and sweet.”
Stepping inside Bark Out Loud you’ll be greeted by barking, the smell of shampoo, and the sight of wagging tails. For a dog-lover it’s a bit like walking into paradise. The most unique feature of Bark Out Loud is the mezzanine level with observation windows for dogs. Look above the cash register and your eyes meet the sweet gaze of a dog in Bark Out Loud’s daycare program.
Leaving your furry friend in the hands of someone else can be stressful, but Vargas and her team assuage those fears with a warm smile. Customers can relax knowing their pet is in capable hands. “I’ve been bringing my dogs here for years,” a customer told me. “They take such great care of my older dog who is blind and deaf.”
In addition to Vargas and Valdez, Bark Out Loud’s third employee is Lisa’s son Erik. Having practically been raised in a dog salon, Erik, though young, has the confidence and experience of a veteran groomer. He laughed when asked about what it was like to grow up in this environment and proudly showed his tattoo of the family pet, Fluffy, he has on his leg. Fluffy was also the inspiration for the business’s logo making it clear that deep love of pets is at the heart of why Bark Out Loud has been so successful.
For my final question, I asked Vargas what advice she’d give a young entrepreneur. “Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Do things with patience. Everything always falls into place.”
Bark Out Loud is located at 1039 25th Street. They are open Tuesday – Friday: 8am – 5pm, Saturday: 9am – 3pm, and closed on Sundays and Mondays. You can reach them at (619) 501-4747, by visiting barkoutloudsandiego.com, or on social media @barkoutloudsd. Se habla español.