STATON ISLAND, N.Y. — Like millions of others craving social interaction during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ashley Sicuranza added a dog to her home in 2020. A beautiful husky named Kai, the puppy is now Sicuranza’s best friend and greatest responsibility – and the inspiration for her new venture.
“When everything reopened and I went back to work, I honestly didn’t trust her except me,” recalls Sikuranza. “I really feel like Staten Island needs good doggy day care because so many other people are in the same boat. That’s why I started this company.”
Dubbed 4 Paws Only, Sicuranza’s concept, located on the corner of Main Street and Amboy Road in Tottenville, combines pet daycare, boarding and grooming services in one 7,000-square-foot location.
“I’ve worked with animals my whole life, so this was an easy decision for me,” Sicouranza noted, detailing his experience as a riding instructor and listing a list of family pets. “I’ve always wanted to work with pets full-time, and now that’s exactly what I do.”
Already an entrepreneur — she has successfully owned and operated an eyelash extension business for the past seven years — Sicuranza says she has learned the basics of business ownership. When she found a vacant storefront and willing business partners, she decided to give it a try.
“My business partner Tom is also a dog lover,” she said of Thomas Catanese, a friend who runs a masonry business by day and four paws at night. “He had a Frenchman named Lucy, and we were all very interested in the idea.”
Together, the pair completely renovated a former auto parts store to realize their vision.
“It’s a vanilla box — a big open space — and we turned it into something special,” Sikuranza said of the layout. “We have two floors and an indoor and outdoor play area. We wanted to make it a comfortable space where people feel very comfortable when they are away from their pets.”
What makes their business unique?
“This is your dog’s second home,” Sikuranza said. “We take care of the dogs ourselves as if they were our own. This is not a place where you just put down your hat and wonder what’s going to happen all day.”
There’s also 24/7 camera access, so dog owners can log in and see exactly what their pets are up to.
“Whether you’re running errands, work or an overnight trip, you can use the camera to make sure your dog is safe,” says Sicuranza.
The business has been a huge success since it opened in August, she said.
“We’re happy because we’ve had an amazing turnout over the past few months,” she concluded. “As my own dog owner, I’m glad there is now a place like this on Staten Island.”