Steinmans plan expanded vet clinic on West Innes
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY - With business booming at the Salisbury Animal Hospital on East Innes Street, the Steinmans are building a branch clinic on West Innes Street at the site of a vacant service station. Clients on the west side of town are excited about the convenience of the Animal Care Center West, which should open in about six months, Dr. Charles Steinman said. The new facility will have one treatment room and four exam rooms staffed by two veterinarians from the existing clinic, plus an additional new vet. The expansion will offer grooming, bathing and pet adoption, in addition to full-service veterinary care, but no boarding. Steinman said he'd driven past the vacant service station across from the Ketner Center for 25 years and cringed. "I hate unsightly property," he said. Steinman, who with his family recently completed a stunning renovation of the three-story Hardiman Building in downtown Salisbury, said he bought the half-acre at 1739 W. Innes St. as a good location for the clinic and was glad to clean up the mess. He reused the service station shell, which will make up about 40 percent of the 5,000-square-foot vet clinic. "Once I realized the walls and floor were in good condition, I thought, why tear them down?" Steinman said. He paid $150,000 for the property and will spend another $700,000 on construction of the new clinic. Steinman said previous property owner David Clark had the underground fuel tanks removed two years ago. Landlocked at the existing Salisbury Animal Hospital, which has 10 vets and 30 total employees, Steinman said he's been looking for a good opportunity to build a branch clinic and likes the West Innes location. High traffic counts and a surprising number of restaurants within three blocks make the location next to the Mock Office Building appealing, Steinman said. He founded Salisbury Animal Hospital in 1972 at the current location, alongside a Volkswagen dealer, insurance company and barbecue restaurant. The clinic moved across the street in 1976. In 1995, Steinman went back to the original site, razed the building and constructed the Animal Care Center, which includes Salisbury Animal Hospital, a retail store, boarding, grooming and pet adoption. To build the new facility, Steinman has enlisted the same team that designed and constructed the Hardiman renovation - architect Gray Stout and general contractor Bob Glover. Building the clinic has been easier than the 15,000-square-foot Hardiman project, not only due to size but experience, Steinman said. "It's easier as long as you have Bob Glover doing the job," he said. "I have ideas and he can bring them to fruition." The second floor of the Hardiman Building is fully occupied with six tenants - two financial advisors, two counselors, the state of North Carolina and a photographer, said Steinman, who added he was thrilled to lease the floor more quickly than expected. The basement and third floor remain available. "It's not break-even yet," Steinman said of the building, which attracted more than 500 visitors last weekend when it was featured on OctoberTour. The Steinmans are taking applications for veterinarians, vet technicians, groomers and more for the new facility. Son Todd Steinman, the business manager for the original Animal Care Center, will manage the new location initially. Son Dr. Tim Steinman is a vet at the original location. Partially retired, Charles Steinman said he will work at both locations. Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.