200 Marin Blvd.
One of the first things you notice about Jersey City—even if you are here only for a quick visit—is that we are a dog-friendly town. Dogs of every description are walking with their owners, playing in parks, and running in dog runs.
So Club Barks, a doggie daycare center that opened this winter, was a pretty sure bet. Co-owner Steve Anatro has been operating a Club Barks in Woodland Park for the past seven years. “I wanted to get into the urban Jersey City/Hoboken area,” he says. “We looked all over North Jersey and had a unique opportunity to purchase a retail condo.”
That retail space is at the Gull’s Cove condominiums, conveniently located right near the Marin Boulevard light rail stop.
Also on site will be a full-service vet. They will operate as two separate businesses but share a front desk. “We’re very competitively priced,” Anatro says. “A lot of doggy daycares are expensive. We are middle of the road cost-wise.”
Club Barks’ business model acknowledges the reality of dog owners’ lives. “We cater to the people and fit around their needs,” Anatro says. “If they don’t need 13 hours, we have a half-day program.”
The bottom line? “Our goal is to create a network of doggie daycares, with a shared experience between them,” Anatro says. “We want to build relationships with customers.”
199 Warren St.
Frank Pizano launched the business with his sister-in-law, Renee Pizano. This children’s boutique started as an online operation before moving to Paulus Hook in summer 2012. Pizano says the customers needed to “feel and touch” the merchandise. “It was originally Renee’s idea,” he says. “She always wanted a children’t boutique.” But she is an executive with Comcast and didn’t have time to handle a full bricks-and-mortar business on her own.
Enter her brother-in-law. Pizano had been in sales and could do the buying and manage the store if she managed the business and accounting.
The Paulus Hook demographic is perfect, he says. “It’s all strollers, nannies, dogs, and kids,” he says. “They run in to get a birthday gift on the way to a party.”
The shop sells high-end brands that can be found in stores like Neiman Marcus. Boys clothes are selling especially well. “We can’t keep it on the shelf,” Pizano says, pointing to the popularity of the brand name Andy & Evan.
Sizes for both boys and girls range from newborn to 6X. They also sell accessories, such as neckties, hats, headbands, clips, and bibs. They also have a line of locally handmade booties, mittens, and hats.
Pizano says he “flutters around Paulus Hook like a bird,” going to Halloween parties, networking with other merchants, and keeping in touch with “discerning” mothers. Fathers, too, are getting into the act. “They’re picking and choosing,” Pizano says, “and telling their wives what they want.”
Opening the store was a good move. “We’re having a good time with it,” Pizano says. “It’s very exciting.”
PEPIN & PEPIN
3199 Kennedy Blvd.
Peter Pepin and his brother Max are in the business of credit repair. Hmmm. What’s that, you ask? Basically, folks in the credit-repair business improve bad credit reports, correct mistakes made by credit agencies, and help clients with budgeting and other money-management issues.
“We’re a multi-purpose business,” says Peter Pepin. “We’re a personal finance company specializing in credit repair. We do debt negotiation and consolidation.”
The brothers have been in business for three years. Hoboken natives, they also have an office in South Plainfield, where Max, who is three years old than Peter, lives.
Max does taxes and loan modifications,” Peter says. “He is very versatile. I work for him.”
The financial crisis has been good for the credit-repair business. “It’s a perfect time,” Pepin says. “With the recession and people losing jobs, they depend on credit. When you’re in the middle of a job interview, they ask for a credit check. We have a proven strategy for getting credit fixed.”