On Tompkins Avenue near the corner of Hancock, pampered clients spend the afternoon receiving pedicures, facials, massages, haircuts, and more. Some also opt for the flea and tick dip. At the New Bed-Stuy Animal Spa, owner Joseph Foster has been beautifying Bed-Stuy’s beloved pets for more than 13 years and, with assistance from BSDC, his family business has thrived.
Mr. Foster, who began working with animals as an assistant to a veterinarian before training to become an animal groomer, has used BSDC for years as a reliable resource for business advice and referrals. “Not long ago, Bridge Street introduced me to a new accountant,” says Foster, “and I’m thrilled with how reliable and knowledgeable he is.” When Foster was seeking a small business loan and had difficulty securing approval from traditional lenders, BSDC introduced him to a local lender who provided the loan at a very competitive interest rate.
Kenneth Mbonu, BSDC’s director of economic development, assisted Mr. Foster in successfully applying for New York State’s Main Street grant program, which provides matching funds for small businesses and property owners to make improvements to building interiors and facades. “With Kenneth’s help, I was able to renovate the basement of my shop—what used to be a dark, damp, unfinished space is now an inventory storage area, which means I can buy products in bulk at a cheaper price.” Additionally, Mr. Mbonu is working to help Mr. Foster create a business plan for expanding his animal spa in an exciting new direction.
The New Bed-Stuy Animal Spa is truly a family business, with Mr. Foster’s two sons, 26 and 24 years old, following in his footsteps. They both helped their father out with the business when they were kids, and now they all work side by side. Though Mr. Foster’s wife works a full-time job, she also comes into the shop on weekends to arrange the displays of animal clothing and accessories that round out New Bed-Stuy Animal Spa’s offerings. “Bridge Street helped me over the years to build a business that I can pass down to my boys,” Foster says proudly. “I would recommend them to anyone who is thinking of starting or expanding a business in the neighborhood.”