After moving to the city in the late 70’s from Iran and spending nearly 30 years in the fashion industry designing for Jones Apparel, Anne Klein and Dana Buchman, Haak took a completely different route with Bushy Tails Pet Food and Supplies.
After studying the market, she found that pets had been overlooked in Bushwick. Today, she sells a variety of name-brand pet food for dogs and cats, toys and just about anything her customers ask for.
“There’s a lot of pet owners in this neighborhood,” Haak said.
Now one year in, Haak has expanded her business, which originally opened in the Shops at the Loom on Flushing Avenue, and moved to 177 Irving Ave. in Bushwick.
“I saw so many people on the train station with bags of dog food and cat food, and on the L train just riding with bags,” Haak recalled. “I decided that, why should they travel to the city when they can come to me?”
The roughly 400-square-foot space on Irving Avenue sits in the middle of the quickly developing neighborhood between Milk and Pull coffee shop and Fritzl’s Lunch Box.
With the extra space now on Irving, Haak is now contemplating on adding grooming services or a doggy daycare.
Aside from being a cat owner and recently taking on a five-month-old Chihuahua named Buddy - which has naturally become the store’s mascot – Haak’s newfound interest in the pet market has come seemingly effortless as she has watched her loyal customer base grow.
Zach Millet, a Bushwick resident and cat owner himself, has shopped at Bushy Tails on Irving Avenue since it first opened.
“I used to go to Williamsburg, but now I don’t have to and it’s slightly cheaper,” Millet said. “It’s nice to have a place that cares, you know?”
For those who might be unsure about the current state of the market, Haak advises prospective business owners to “not be frightened. If it works it works, and if it doesn’t as least you tried it.”