A Labor of Love in Great Neck: The Story of Spock and Elvis

Meet Norio, a Pioneer of Passion and Change

Spock & Elvis was born out of a desire for change and adventure. Norio Brian Okui and his spouse emerged as devoted artists, harnessing their degrees in graphics and design. Amid these pursuits in college, the couple rescued a cat together, sparking a profound connection to animals. Departing from a family-owned beauty wholesale venture, Norio sought to merge his graphic talents with his passion for animals, laying the foundation for a high-end pet store that radiated warmth and luxury. 

A Vision Taking Shape

Driven by an adoration for dogs and cats, Norio embarked on a journey to find a suitable location for his new pet store. Searching in towns across Long Island, the couple sought for an affluent and cozy town. The journey to opening Spock & Elvis took two years, ultimately culminating in Great Neck becoming their new home in 2002. Their own furry companions, Spock the Schnauzer and Elvis the Pug, served as inspiration for the store’s name. 

Adapting to the Retail Evolution 

The evolving retail landscape prompted Norio to reimagine his business model. Originally being a destination for opulent pet goods, the emergence of online shopping posed a challenge for Spock & Elvis. Norio remarks, “since people could get any product they want online, we just couldn’t cut it with retail alone.” Thus, the introduction of grooming services emerged as  the keystone that upheld their enterprise. With a commitment to excellence, their grooming services garnered a strong following, supported by word-of-mouth referrals. Norio notes, “if you do a good job, people come back to you. Once you find somewhere you like, you just keep going back to them.”

Navigating Challenges with Grace

As the pandemic swept the community, Spock & Elvis demonstrated resilience and adaptability. Thanks to their essential boarding and daycare services, Spock & Elvis remained open throughout the pandemic. They soon continued their grooming services, attracting old patrons and new clients who appreciated the continued care amid uncertainty. In a landscape where other groomers had to close temporarily, Spock & Elvis experienced growth as customers valued their reliability. 

A Community of Companionship

Great Neck’s affluence has proven beneficial, but the core of the business’ success lies in its ability to provide sought-after products and services. “This town has a lot of people looking for care services for their pets.” Moreover, Spock and Elvis’ success hinges on fostering genuine and lasting connections. “Because of the nature of this job, I have a lot of clients who I see as family,” Norio remarks. “We have been their puppy’s only groomer throughout their puppy’s entire life, and we’ve been lucky to see their little kids grow up into adults.” In a town that thrives on community spirit, Norio has weaved into the fabric of his patrons’ lives.

Care and Growth: The Spirit of Spock and Elvis

Highlighting the joys of ownership, Norio rejoices in the ability to “…work and get paid while doing something we love.” For Norio, every day at Spock and Elvis is an embodiment of his passion and dedication. His journey has created riddles of impact, transforming lives by offering cherished products and services, ranging from feather canopy beds to expert grooming.

A Future Anchored in Devotion

As the path forward remains uncertain, Norio is confident that their legacy remains rooted in their ardor. The couple’s unwavering commitment to both pets and community secures Spock and Elvis’ status as a sanctuary for all pet owners. For the next few years, Norio pledges to continue his labor of love for the community’s canine companions. “As long as there are still dogs in town,” Norio concludes, “we’ll be here.”