By Tom Momberg
After a low-key start during the slow winter retail season, retired police officer turned entrepreneur, Sean Jordan, switched gears to prepare for the grand opening of his new Bay Terrace store, Modern Pet this past week.
Now 10 years out of the New York City Police Department, Jordan said it was time to start something new. One of his former colleagues, Sofia Diakakis, is a certified master dog trainer. In looking to start his own business, Jordan teamed up with her for a new unique kind of pet store.
As business partners, Jordan and Diakakis refurbished a 2,600-square-foot retail space adjacent to Bay Terrace, to offer a wide selection of all-natural foods for canines and felines, as well as eco-friendly and high-quality pet products.
“I grew up here. I don’t think you can be more local than we are trying to be,” Jordan said. “We’re going to be like what we had when I was growing up: a neighborhood store.”
Modern Pet, 212-77 26th Ave., specializes in foods, of which even the lowest grades are all-natural, whole healthy products.
Store staff will also special order any product a customer asks for, even if it’s something they don’t carry on the shelves.
“Basically, this store would be best for the educated pet parent who already knows what the good products are,” Jordan said. “My staff is also entirely trained in foods, and we don’t have to upsell you.”
A large American flag painted on the back wall identifies Modern Pet’s variety of American-made products, whether they are organic dry and raw foods from brands like Stella and Chewy’s or Dick Van Patein’s Natural Balance, or pet toys, snacks, clothing, medications, hygiene products, beds, bags, cages and collars that Jordan guarantees pets will love.
Seemingly one of the most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to pet food, Jordan said his expertise comes out of being a caring pet owner himself, carrying only the products he would buy. The store is perfect for the pet owner who doesn’t want to worry about dog food being recalled.
Modern Pet’s prices are competitive, with even the higher-end brand pet foods in line with comparable widely sold products. When it comes to spending a little extra on quality food, Jordan said the high protein content of higher-grade stuff will go a lot further than a cheap bag of kibble of equal weight.
“The educated pet parent may come in here and realize they are spending $35 on food every week, but otherwise they are spending at least that on kibble, wet food and everything else to get the same fill,” Jordan said. “So it’s not as expensive as the sticker price will tell you.”
For pets with allergies, owners might find that all-natural or raw pet foods will help alleviate symptoms and provide critters with longer, healthier lives, often with fewer trips to the veterinarian.
Jordan took advantage of help offered by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, to develop a strategy for his business, which he said was “the best thing I ever did in my life.”
“That doesn’t mean there weren’t unexpected snags in the road, but I have to thank them, because they really helped me fine-tune a good business plan,” Jordan continued
Now through the thick of getting things off the grounds, Jordan and Diakakis plan to expand their services as the clientele base grows.
The store has already started to roll out a customer rewards program, giving up to 3.5 percent back to its customers, redeemable at any time. Within the next couple of months, Modern Pet customers can expect the basement to open for pet grooming, offered by a highly skilled staff. Online ordering and home delivery are of the services to be offered within the next year as well.
. Regular store hours are from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on weekends.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb