The place is something of a mess, frankly. Puddles. Dust. Display cases out of place.
But that’s what you get when you dismantle a business that’s home to tons of bagged pet food, dozens of rabbits and other mammals and hundreds of pretty little fish.
And do it while still catering to customers, at a busy time of the year.
Soon though, with luck, the disruption will all be a memory. Fins and Feathers owner Helen Davis is determined, come hell or unfiltered water, to move her entire store in one or two breathless days this weekend and start settling into a new space at 134 Monmouth Street.
It’s a big job. So big that longtime customers and friends are asking what they can do to help.
They’re offering to schlep everything from buckets of fish to sacks of dog food, Davis says. Customers and owners of nearby businesses have offered to put up animals at their homes.
Davis says she can’t get over the outpouring of support.
“One woman, an 80-year-old lady, called to say that she has a station wagon we can use if we need it,” Davis told redbankgreen yesterday. “I have goose bumps just thinking about how nice everyone is being.”
The size of the undertaking is lost on few people who wander into the store, at the corner of Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street, just a few hundred yards east of its future address.
“People are so incredibly curious,” says Davis. “Everyone asks, ‘How are you going to do it?’”
Here’s how, in a nutshell: Starting Sunday, probably, the move will begin in earnest. Monday — New Year’s Eve — Davis, her brood of five kids (including Christine Kaminski, seen in the photos above) and various volunteers will complete the job in what is expected to be the second of two long, dirty, sweaty days of moving live critters, one carload at a time.
As of yesterday, the new store had just a couple of shelving units in place, put there to show borough inspectors how the place would be laid out. (All the inspections have been completed and Davis has all her permits, she says, with a huge sigh.)
The store is moving because it’s landlord and neighbor, Buona Sera Ristorante, is expanding into its present space.