Owner: Winston Casalinuevo
Founded in: 1978
Based in: Bay Ridge, Brooklyn,
Link to website: http://www.vinnyspetshop.com [vinnyspetshop.com]
Businesses across the country have shut their doors indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But this Brooklyn pet shop remains open to provide support to its animal-loving community.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Vinny’s Pet Shop grew to become a leading pet shop in Bay Ridge, specializing in a wide variety of holistic and all-natural pet foods. They don’t sell animals, but rather work with organizations like the Animal Care Centers of New York on local animal adoption events.
Today, Vinny’s has been deemed an essential business, allowing them to remain open during these unprecedented times.
“When the crisis happened, everyone came in and was just showing tremendous support,” said Winston Casalinuevo, owner of Vinny’s Pet Shop. “We had about three weeks worth of sales done in a couple of days.”
Although Winston is fortunate to still have his doors open, he did have to make some adjustments that aligned with proper COVID-19 procedures, modifying store hours and ensuring social distancing by opening the doors to one customer at a time.
Still, Winston remains optimistic and hopeful that things will normalize again and wants to be able to pay his support forward by expressing to the community the importance of shopping local.
“Once things go back to normal — we need to go to the restaurants, we need to go to the retail stores, we need everyone to support each other because it’s going to be a crucial time for that,” he said.
While Winston expresses the gratitude he feels toward his community for continuing to support his business, he also has a message of hope for these troubled times.
“Hang in there. Things will change and they’re going to change for the better. We’re all going to get together and support, shop, buy and bring our economy back to where it used to be. Eventually this too will pass.”