By Kelly Martin
Steven Stark, the owner of Beacon Hardware on Amsterdam Avenue and 78th Street just added a new member to his team — a four-month-old puppy named Dinah.
This is not the first canine companion to take up residence at Beacon. Bru, a Labrador who died last year, was beloved by all types of locals, from fellow dog owners to children who stopped by daily to see her. Stark’s habit of bringing his dog to work started out of necessity, because he did not want to leave her at home all of the time, so his brother suggested bringing her into work. She ended up being a bright spot of customer and employee’s days, so he decided to continue every day of Bru’s life, and now plans to do the same every day of Dinah’s life.
After Bru passed away, Stark took some time off from being a dog owner, and started to live vicariously through the other owners that visited his store, playing with the dogs as if they were his own. But recently, he decided he was ready to take the leap into being a full-fledged dog dad again.
He contacted Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that raises and trains guide dogs, and said that he would be interested in one of the released pups that wouldn’t end up being able to guide. As luck would have it, only a few weeks later there was an adorable Black Lab ready to be adopted.
Having a dog in the store has its challenges, like dealing with teething in a shop with so many tempting things for a dog to chew, but generally, there is nothing but positivity radiating from Dinah and the rest of the store, from the owner and employees to the patrons.
Beacon Hardware and its mascot have become a staple in the community. During the half hour this interview took, two different people and their puppy counterparts stopped in for a brief play date, knew Dinah by name, and were obviously comfortable in the welcoming environment.
You can tell the spirit of Stark’s past dog, Bru is still alive and well, and has greatly influenced the way that Stark conducts his business.