By Bill Parry
A successful pet shop in Sunnyside celebrates its one-year anniversary this weekend, and the owner says it may not have been had he not seen a magazine article four years ago.
“I didn’t know anything about Queens and then I read that New York Magazine article by Nate Silver and I came to take a look,” Sam Abdrabouh said.
The owner of Wespawpets was referring to an article from April 2010 titled “The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York,” in which the famed statistician ranked Sunnyside third after Park Slope and the Lower East Side. Silver wrote that “Sunnyside is a hidden gem if there ever was one ….”
“That magazine is still in the front window,” said Welcome Home Real Estate’s Michelle Sullivan. “Whenever we have a new property, I always use it and we always show it to people coming from Brooklyn. All these years later it’s still a very good promotion for the neighborhood.”
It worked like a charm on Abdrabouh.
“I had to come and see it for myself,” he said, remembering feeling mesmerized as he walked from Greenpoint Avenue to Skillman Avenue. “Sunnyside is unique in the diversity of its cultures. I could tell it’s a family-oriented place with a great community feel. If I had to do it again, I’d move here again.”
Wespawpets, at 44-05 Queens Blvd., replaced a vacant Off-Track Betting storefront and Abdrabouh, a licensed pharmacist with a passion for animals, opened a unique shop in that it does not sell any animals.
“That goes against my ethics. I’ll leave that to other businesses,” he said.
What he features is everything for pets from nutritional and holistic foods, including raw items, to accessories and nutritional supplies. There is equipment-like carrying cases and litter pans, clothing and blankets and even a full line of pet greeting cards.
“I’m amazed and appreciative how things have worked out,” Abdrabouh said. “I’m thankful for the support from the community and others as well. We deliver to Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside and even Jackson Heights.”
Wespawpets will celebrate its first anniversary on Super Bowl weekend with all-day affairs Saturday and Sunday with gift bags for pets and their owners. There is also a raffle and a special guest.
“We’ve got Travis Brorsen, the celebrity dog trainer. He’ll be in to work with the customers and their dogs,” Abdrabouh said.
Brorsen was the star of a reality TV series called “Greatest American Dog” in 2008.
The owner is proud of his friendly and knowledgeable staff and his spotless store in his adopted community and he is still glad he read the article by Silver.
“It really was a win-win situation for me,” he said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718.260.4538.