Pup, pup, hooray! Rockaway has a new pet supply store! On Monday, March 29, Dawn May opened the doors to Rockaway Pet Supplies right in the heart of Rockaway Beach.
Since Rockapup closed in 2017, pet owners have had to go to Far Rockaway, Five Towns, across the bridges or online to get some of their pet needs. However, Rockaway Pet Supplies, located at 92-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, is now here to fill that void. With everything from dog, cat, bird and fish food that you can’t find at the supermarket to pet beds, bowls, carriers, Wee Wee Pads, toys, leashes, treats, rawhides and even pet needs for a beach day such as doggy life jackets and waterproof toys, Rockaway Pet Supplies may soon become a go-to for pet owners.
Local resident Dawn May, who has been in the dog business for 35 years and has seven dogs herself, says she saw the need for a new pet supply store after Rockapup closed. “There’s an influx of puppies in the neighborhood, but no pet supplies. Of course, you can get regular pet food at Stop and Shop, and it isn’t terrible food, but we needed more,” she said. And May had the experience to pull it off. She previously had a pet store on West End Avenue in Manhattan Beach until the property owner sold the property. “After that, I said I’m gonna take a vacation. I took about 10 years off,” she joked. “But Rockaway needed it.”
About a year and a half ago, May started looking for locations all over the peninsula but couldn’t find the perfect spot. That was, until she laid eyes on the former home of Studio Phantasmagoria, which had been available for several months. In an area that has seen recent revitalization, it was perfect. “It’s different than 129th, it’s different than 116th, you can draw from either way. It’s right in the middle of the peninsula and it’s a good block,” she said.
It also happened to be right down the block from local vet, Rockaway Beach Vet Services, though May says that wasn’t her motivation for acquiring the space, but rather a coincidence. May says her neighbors have been very welcoming since she took over the space in February.
Aware that some pet owners have turned to online stores for their pet needs, May, who says even she sometimes uses online sources, isn’t too worried about that competition. “My prices are cheaper than Chewy. I’ve been doing this a long time and I know the owners of the food companies and toy companies so the prices I’m charging are cheaper than online. For instance, I’m charging $19.99 for Wee Wee Pads that you might find for $35 in another store,” she said. And being one of few places to go right on the peninsula helps business.
As far as services go, May says as someone who has been working with dogs for 35 years, she’s up for giving tips. “If you ask me about a puppy, I can tell you anything. I probably know more than most. I have friends that own major puppy stores that come to me for advice. If anyone has any questions about training, I’m not going to charge them,” she says. But as for grooming? “They can go to the veterinarian on the corner,” May says.
If you’re looking for fish, birds or hamsters to bring home, Rockaway Pet Supplies won’t be the place to go, but May can help those interested in buying a new puppy or kitten. “I can get any breed of puppy and kitten that people are looking for,” she said. Working in the business for so long, May says she knows reputable breeders that care for the quality and health of their animals and she has developed a good reputation with generations of families that seek out her help in finding a specific breed. “I’m known as the Puppy Boss,” she said. At the moment, May says she’s not sure if she’ll have puppies or kittens in the store directly.
When The Rockaway Times interviewed May on Monday, we did have the opportunity to meet one adorable pup, an eight-month old trained German shepherd puppy that May is trying to resell for a family that says their other dogs didn’t mesh with. Not wanting to leave her in a crate all day at home, the puppy named Penny was in the store, charming all willing participants who came by for the opening, in hopes for a new home.
As Rockaway Pet Supplies makes a home on the peninsula, May asks for patience as some items that have been on backorder will be coming, so she will have even more items in stock. If successful, May says her big goal is to expand. “I’d like to open up another store in Far Rockaway in about two years,” she says.
Rockaway Pet Supplies, located at 92-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more info, call 347-727-7000.
By Katie McFadden
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