HELL’S KITCHEN — A longtime pet store whose owners spent years working to find adoptive homes for stray and feral cats is closing up shop this week.
Pets NYC at 594 Ninth Ave., between West 42nd and 43rd streets, will officially close Tuesday evening, co-owner Gene King said.
“In a nutshell, the rent is not affordable,” said King, 51, who with his partner took over the store's lease from the previous owner about 10 years ago, when it was named MetroPets. (The store's current awning still bears the old name.)
Myriad factors — including an increase in online pet-supply sales, real estate taxes and the cost of repairs and electrical fixes — also took a toll on the business, he said.
“It just gets to the point where it’s not affordable, and honestly, it hasn’t been for the past few years,” he said. “It will be good to have that behind [us], but I’ll definitely miss the community — the people and their pets.”
The store has been a fixture on Ninth Avenue since either 1989 or 1990, King said.
Gene King, co-owner of Pets NYC, outside the store. (Credit: DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani)
All of its merchandise is selling for up to 50 percent up until closing time Tuesday evening, he added.
After taking over the lease, King and his partner teamed up with the Urban Cat League and spent years working with the organization to find homes for feral and stray cats, he said.
“That’s something that can’t be provided online, by those services,” he said. “Being part of this wonderful community — it’s like a small town.”
“You meet everybody’s dogs and cats,” he added.
The pet store’s resident cat, Big Al, who was born in the horse stables on West 36th Street nearly nine years ago, was once a feral cat himself, King added.
Big Al was recently adopted ahead of the store's closure.
“So many people wanted him, so the vetting process was a little crazy," King said. "But he went to a great home."