Among rows of shelves waiting to be stocked and massive boxes waiting to be unpacked, a plump, little pug in a pink harness trotted around, investigating any strangers who showed up at the front doors.
Outside, large blue and red letters were mounted above the storefront, accompanied by a white sign that read, “Coming Soon.”
The hubbub was to prepare for the opening of pet-supply megastore Petco. The store will occupy a massive vacant spot — nearly 15,000 square feet — next to Whole Foods Market on 15th Avenue West in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood.
Although the Interbay Petco was scheduled to open Jan. 23, the opening was pushed back to Friday, Feb. 8, due to what assistant store manager Carissa Ruud described as some visual changes.
“Our look is completely different,” Ruud said. “The style of the store and how it’s set up is…different from other Petcos.”
New paint colors and styles will help usher in a newer, fresher look, Ruud said. However, the products and services offered will be the same as any other store in the chain.
“We will have the same supplies; we’ll have a full-service grooming salon,” Ruud said.
In addition to pet supplies, the new store will offer small companion animals, reptiles, small birds and aquatic animals. The Seattle Animal Shelter is also working with the store to provide cats that will be available for adoption on location.
According to Ruud, cats from the Seattle Animal Shelter will be in the store and ready to be adopted by the time Petco opens it doors next Friday.
Ruud believes the location of the new Petco is ideal, especially with the Animal Shelter located right behind the store.
The new Petco is also located in a large shopping complex. “We have heard people coming into Whole Foods that are really excited we are here,” Ruud said.
Not considered competition
Petco, a large chain store, joins a number of pet businesses in the Magnolia area.
“We have thought about [losing customers to Petco],” said Jason Hall, owner of Magnolia Paw Spa.
But Hall said that Magnolia Paw Spa has a loyal customer base and won’t be too affected by the new Petco.
“There might be a small drop in business, but we feel confident that we will be able to keep the customers we have,” Hall explained.
Jeannine Shapiro, an employee at Pet Pros in Magnolia Village, feels similarly to Hall.
“People in Magnolia really like to stay in Magnolia and shop locally,” Shapiro said. “It won’t really affect us with our regular customers.”
Shapiro did add that individuals looking for a better value might be drawn to Petco, as well as those looking for aquatic supplies and reptiles, things that Pet Pros doesn’t usually stock. But, according to Shapiro, Pet Pros also offers things that Petco does not.
“We have more premium dog and cat foods — that’s kind of our thing,” Shapiro said. “Also, because we are a smaller store, we connect with our customers a lot better.”
Chris Mitchell, a Magnolia resident who owns a brindle-colored mastiff mix, as well as a white boxer, doesn’t think she will visit the Petco often.
Mitchell’s pet supply stores of choice are Pet Pros and Mud Bay (a Seattle-based, all-natural pet-store chain) in Ballard.
“Pet Pros has the type of food I want [for my dogs],” Mitchell said, adding, “I like to support the smaller businesses.”
Drawing the customers
The Interbay Petco will be the sixth to open in Seattle, joining locations in Northgate, Ballard, West Seattle, Aurora and the University District. Overall, there are more than 20 Petcos in the Seattle metropolitan area.
The success of the chain of pet superstores is credited to “the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents,” according to Petco’s website.
Although it is unarguable to say that Petco offers a vast selection of pet food, supplies and a wealth of general animal knowledge, local businesses believe they can hold their own with their strong relationship with their loyal customer base.
“We’re a small business; we’re locally owned. I think our customers can see that you get personalized service,” Hall said.
Petco is scheduled to open on Friday, Feb 8.
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