Queens lawyer jumps into pet grooming business amid COVID court shutdown

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- A Queens criminal defense attorney has launched himself into the pet grooming business after his law practice was forced to shut down in March due to the coronavirus.

"It went from busy attorney to almost doing nothing," said Gerard Marrone, a father of three. "I had no way to make a living at all."

Marrone, who acquired an animal hospital in Astoria in September 2019, bought three closed pet grooming businesses last spring.

"I had that small little light of hope, that little opportunity," he said.

He then purchased four more pet spas.

The seven businesses are located in Huntington, Syosset, Bethpage, Port Washington, Wantagh, New Hyde Park and Howard Beach. Eventually, they will all operate under the name Lucky Paws Pet Grooming.

Marrone hopes to open another location in Massapequa next month.

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According to global market researchers, the pet grooming industry is expected to gain market growth in the next five years. Some of the growth is most likely due to the uptick in pet adoptions during the pandemic.

Marrone, of South Huntington, said his seven pet spas groom anywhere from 7,000 to 8,000 dogs every month and have generated more than $1 million in revenue since last April. He has nearly 50 employees.

"Taking care of people's pets, it's something that survives, you know, through tough times," said Seann Sackett, Lucky Paw's Chief Operating Officer. Sackett has been in the grooming industry for 20 years.

Marrone is continuing to operate his law practice in Howard Beach, but is taking on fewer clients so he can focus on expanding his pet grooming business.

He said he is blessed to have a great team of workers at his pet spas.

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