When Happy Pets closes on Jan. 31 — the beloved Bay Ridge pet supply store won’t be playing dead.
Financial woes will force the Fourth Avenue shop, best known for its animal adoption drives, to shutter at the end of the month.
“Who could have expected the second Great Depression was going to happen?” said Jason Miller, who opened Happy Pets with his wife, Tara Cernacek, in 2006. “We were riding on such a thin profit margin to begin with. Now, it just isn’t sustainable.”
The fiscal downturn was the straw that broke the pet camel’s back, but other factors — including a damaging pet food recall, an upswing in wholesale prices, and a spike in competition from other pet supply retailers — contributed to the shop’s demise.
And the shop’s refusal to sell live animals — the most lucrative part of the pet industry — certainly didn’t help. Instead, Happy Pets volunteered to host shelter animals for adoption — a humane, though unprofitable, venture.
“They do a lot of good work with animal rescue,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann. “It’s going to be a big loss for Bay Ridge and for animal lovers.”
Despite the closure of their storefront, Miller and Cernacek plan to remain active in the animal rights world, and are considering maintaining an online referral program linking pet owners looking to give up their animals with willing adopters — a service they ran before opening their shop.
“Happy Pets as a store might be gone, but Happy Pets as a concept will live on,” Miller said.