Dozens of people lined up outside of M&M Pet Boutique on Saturday, Jan. 28, to apply for pet adoptions and check out the store’s new location on Metropolitan Avenue in Ridgewood.
M&M Pet Boutique owners Manuel and Mildred Figueroa greeted customers with friendly conversation and warm demeanors as they browsed the new space.
“We’re not like a corporate location,” said Manuel, who told QNS he has been an animal-lover since childhood. “We want to make everybody happy and comfortable.”
The Figueroas opened their pet supply store five years ago in Ridgewood, but decided they wanted a larger space in a more heavily frequented area.
“The neighborhood supported us,” Manuel said, “but we wanted more foot traffic.”
“It’s way different already — more foot traffic and more pets,” Mildred told QNS in between conversations with customers.
“This is something I always wanted to do,” said Manuel, who previously worked for a towing company for 17 years and ran a pet grooming business from his garage before opening his own store in 2017.
As a child, Manuel would rescue animals in his neighborhood, building makeshift houses for the dogs he found out of wood and metal he collected.
“I was allergic. I would get hives and my eyes would swell, and my mother would say, ‘You’ve been playing with those dogs again!'” Manuel recalled.
Despite his mother’s worries, he continued to rescue animals he found, including a stranded baby squirrel, and eventually his allergies went away.
“I think I was able to build up a tolerance,” Manuel said, “and now I’m the main pet groomer for our store.”
In addition to pet grooming services, the Figueroas offer daycare and boarding services.
Their new location is nearly five times larger, which gives them significantly more capacity for doggy daycare and boarding pets downstairs, as well as a large grooming space with two washing stations.
“This is a kennel-free space,” Mildred said. “We want to burn off the dogs’ energy during the day so that you come home to a dog that wants to cuddle and sleep.”
The Figueroas have five dogs of their own, and three of their children help out around the store when they can.
“We’re pet owners, so we know what we would expect as customers also,” said Manuel.
Jamal Moseley, who has worked for Animal Care Centers of NYC for 10 years, noted that the Figueroas have “really great customer service” while chatting with visitors considering adopting a new pet outside the store.
The Figueroas admitted to some natural anxiety about starting their own business at first, saying they had contemplated using the money they saved to move to Florida.
But they took a chance and invested in the Queens community instead and feel the area has supported them.
“We love doing what we do, and that’s how we know we’ll be OK,” Manuel said.