Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Post 9/11 Story

I try to do stories on special days or holidays that reflect those days or relate to them in some way. I didn't have one for yesterday, 9/11. 

I found one today that I liked about a vet practice that was near Ground Zero but stayed open and is now doing great!

Four Small Business Owners Who Stayed Put After 9/11

September 10, 2011 10:36am | By Julie Shapiro, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — By the summer of 2001, business was finally picking up at the Battery Park Veterinary Hospital.
Veterinarian Mark Burns had opened the practice in early 2000 after noticing more residents — and more pets — on the previously underpopulated streets of the neighborhood. The practice grew slowly at first, but by its second year it had a roster of regular clients, many who already knew Burns from his TriBeCa and West Village locations.

Then, on Sept. 11, the World Trade Center collapsed four blocks away.

Dust and ash filled the South End Avenue clinic. The fires at Ground Zero burned for months, infusing the air with a penetrating stench. Clients and their pets moved away, and new ones did not replace them.

"I probably should have closed the practice," Burns, 64, said recently. "There were not enough people left. But I didn't."
While many Downtown businesses shut their doors for good after 9/11, hundreds more managed to survive, or even flourish. And each year, dozens of new businesses have opened, seeing opportunity where some saw only destruction.

Burns reopened the Battery Park Veterinary Hospital in early October 2001, after cleaning out the small 800-square-foot space and replacing thousands of dollars of refrigerated vaccines and medications he lost when the power went out.

"I had people tell me I was crazy," said Burns, who lives in Stamford with his wife and three children. "But we're committed to our clients and our pets. I believed in the long run, everything [would] be fine."

The quiet practice hobbled along for the next few years, supported by income from the West Village and TriBeCa locations, until, in the spring of 2004, the clientele finally reached pre-9/11 levels.

Since then, the neighborhood has added thousands of new residents, increasing demand so much that Burns is now planning to open a fourth location later this year in Southbridge Towers.

"The alternative is unthinkable," Burns said when asked why he kept his business in lower Manhattan. "We're established here. We have people who depend on us."

Ten years after 9/11, Burns still clearly remembers watching with horror as the attacks unfolded on his TV, then wrangling his way into a smoking lower Manhattan at 4 a.m. Sept. 12 to ensure that all the animals under his care were safe.

He also remembers a moment three weeks later, when several firefighters entered his office carrying a tiny white kitten they had found in the rubble at Ground Zero.

Burns realized the kitten must have been born within a few days of 9/11. He named her Zero and decided to bring her home. This week, Zero will celebrate her 10th birthday.

Read About the Other 3 Businesses Here

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