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Longtime Fort Lee Pet Shop Closing Nearly 50 Years

Fort Lee Pet Shop owner Tom Piper, left, with customers in his shop before it closes Nov. 28.
Fort Lee Pet Shop owner Tom Piper, left, with customers in his shop before it closes Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

FORT LEE, N.J. — After nearly half a century in business, Fort Lee Pet Shop is locking the kennel doors for good.

“The construction killed us during prime business hours,” said Tom Piper, a Fort Lee native who has spent 13 years running the business on Main Street after he purchased it from his boss, Heinz Freidlich.

Business dwindled over the past two years when construction and winter storms hindered parking.

"I tried to sell it, but once that dog grooming place opened right there, I had no offers," said Piper, who is also a Fort Lee volunteer firefighter and EMT.

Piper hopes to move enough product to allow him to close by Nov. 28.

“At this point everything is 10 percent off except for food. We’ll increase [the percentage] after awhile,” he said.

Piper, who lives in Camden County, might also be leaving emergency services in the borough so that he can find work closer to home -- eliminating the two-hour commute each way -- and spend more time with his wife and eight-month-old daughter.

Fort Lee residents Luke Moskwinski and Elena Ponce visited the store recently looking for new treats for their temperamental cat. They brought their 14-month-old daughter, Julianna Moskwinski.

“This is my first time here, but this one is more personable than [the previous shop],” Ponce said.

“Not that long ago, they closed down the hardware store, too. I liked that one, too,” said Moskwinski.

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