Have you tried a hot dog topped with pineapple sauce, salad, quail eggs, potato chips, mayonnaise, tomato salsa, and crushed up bacon? These are unique Colombian hot dogs, or perros.
Andres’ entrepreneurial journey of opening Perros Paisas, which began in his kitchen, is now headed toward his first restaurant location in East Boston.
Andres immigrated from Colombia with his wife in 2012. He craved one of his favorite foods from Colombia, perros, but couldn’t find them here. He started making them at home, and soon found himself feeding his soccer teammates after games. The demand for his hot dogs increased and he began selling them out of his home multiple times a week.
Word spread quickly and strangers began calling with orders for Perros Paisas, thinking it was already a formal business.
This is when it clicked: Andres knew that selling Colombian hot dogs was a great business opportunity. He decided to start with a food truck, completed a business incubation program, and applied for loans. But the banks told him to come back in a few years when his business was further developed. That’s when he came to JPNDC and connected with Carlos Espinoza-Toro, Director of Small Business Services. Over the next year, Andres learned bookkeeping, got accounting support, caught up with his taxes, secured a loan, and bought and equipped his food truck.
“Working with Carlos has been a blessing for me. I came to JPNDC with an idea and a dream. I wouldn’t have this business without their support.”
Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for Andres; his food truck is based in East Boston, a high-prevalence area for the virus, and his sales have been low. He has relied on delivery, online ordering, and other marketing strategies. Now he is excited to see hope on the horizon!
Two years ago, Andres found a commercial space that he thought would be perfect for a Perros Paisas restaurant. But another business owner bought the space. Then last year, during the pandemic, the space went up for sale again. He knew the realtor, and they selected him to purchase the location. Andres felt that the stars aligned!
Building Perros Paisas has been a happy experience for Andres, bringing him and his family independence and stability. He is proud to represent Colombia through his food. He works alongside his wife, and has been able to hire family members and local residents. He was recently able to buy a home.
“My biggest joy,” he says, “is being able to create jobs and build my community.”
Andres continues to dream big, which is evident in his personal success over the last year – purchasing his first home in Revere and obtaining U.S. citizenship. He also dreams of expanding Perros Paisas with additional food trucks, restaurant locations, and franchising in new cities.
“I recommend working with JPNDC to any small business owner. JPNDC will remove any doubts that you have in building your business and help you get there. They made my dream a reality.”
Check out Perros Paisas’ new restaurant location at 350 Bennington St in East Boston!