Three local retailers say the closing of The Andersons store at the Woodville Mall has led to a spike in their pet food and supply sales.
These pet wars are not resulting in fierce rivalries leading to antagonistic promotions against competitors, but locally-owned Pet Finatics, Condos And Trees, and Gladieux Home Center are working with customers to pick up the slack.
Michael Stewart, the former owner of Kitty Condo, has passed the business on to his daughter Jennifer Stewart, now owner of the businesses’ third incarnation called Condos And Trees. Mike, who remains involved, says business is up 20 to 30 percent since the closing.
|John Habel making cat
condos for Condos and Trees. (Press file photo by Ken Grosjean)
|Pet Finatics co-owners Tracy Kamelesky and David Grosjean II. (Press file photo by Ken Grosjean)||Gladieux Home Center co-owner Ron Gladieux in the new pet department>(Press file photo by Ken Grosjean)|
“We had to increase inventory big-time,” Michael said. “Basically, we had them all — it’s just the flavors. Everybody had a different flavor, and oh, my gosh, it would take a building twice this size to carry all the brands and all the flavors.”
That doesn’t mean they endorsed the closing. When it happened, all three businesses had to respond.
“Andersons’ departure from Northwood has been difficult for many of us. We enjoyed walking into The Andersons with the smell from the fresh baked goods and all of their great quality products,” owner Jennifer Stewart said.
“Condos And Trees started business making high quality cat furniture. Since the departure of The Andersons we have expanded,” Jennifer continued. “Condos and Trees now carries quality food, toys, and supplies for all pets.
“Condos and Trees did not expand and get ready for Andersons’ departure alone. The customers and community have helped us tremendously. Customers came into Condos and Trees looking for food and toys that they had brought previously for their pets at The Andersons. Getting customers’ input is greatly appreciated and has helped us understand their products, pass on information to other customers, and knowledge of what to stock in our store.”
Bad economy, pets still fed
Condos And Trees, located at 4211 Woodville Road, Northwood, and Pet Finatics, which has a 5,500 square foot store at 3150 Navarre Ave., Suite A. in front of the Oregon Holiday Inn, competes in this retail sector with the big box stores, regional and national chains.
What Jennifer Stewart said about listening to customer feedback went across the board with Pet Finatics and Gladieux Home Store owners.
“(We) are pleased to welcome The Andersons customers as well,” said Pet Finatics co-owner David Grosjean II. “Through determination, dedication, and a love for what we do, Pet Finatics has become a success while facing challenges like a down economy.”
Since opening in July of 2009, Pet Finatics has grown from two to eight employees. Grosjean and co-owner Tracy Kamelesky, are seeing new customers, but they cannot identify how much Pet Finatics’ business has picked up since The Andersons’ closing.
“It’s tough to say. I assumed, to be honest, from the get-go we had more business than The Andersons,” Grosjean said. “We picked up a couple extra lines because of it, but we already had the majority of the stuff. Business is excellent. The store is very lucky to have such loyal customers.”
“The thing that makes us three quite different from any of the other pet supply competitors in the area is most of the foods we carry are a much higher quality,” Grosjean claims. “We have a vaster array of products and are more pet-supply specific.
“Our customers are what makes us specific and make us able to do what we love. It’s incredibly important, and we listen to the customers 100 percent and if they want something we don’t have we go out of our way to find it for them. It doesn’t matter if it is a small item or a large item. We do whatever we possibly can to make the customer happy.”
Gladieux Home Store, 5120 Navarre Ave., Oregon, began expanding to a full 1,500 square foot pet food and supply department two-and-a-half years ago. Co-owner Ron Gladieux says the department’s expansion is continuing.
“Even when the economy is bad, people are still going to feed their pets,” Gladieux said. “They are like their kids, you know.
“It’s been growing ever since. We have a full range of premium quality foods now. I think most people are looking to feed their pets a little better quality than the grocery store brands and that kind of thing. I think it’s the whole adage of quality products and service and we have people who are knowledgeable in the products so people can come and get good advice, too.”
The local store owners are involved in the community as well. Pet Finatics was chosen as a finalist for this year’s Prism Awards by the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Pet Finatics donates regularly to the Pet Bull Project, Save-A-Pet and Humane Ohio as well as other local charities. The business provides supplies as well as food for the K-9 police dogs for both the City of Oregon and Lake Township and participates in the ACHIEVE Juvenile Diversion program and Athletes in Action.
Jennifer Stewart has been involved in all three incarnations of her family’s kitty condo and pet business. In 1988, at age 6, she was hammering and stapling kitty condo units when the business was launched in the former Dunn car dealership in Curtice. Her father Michael moved the business to Spartan Warehouse located at Lallendorf and Corduroy Roads in Oregon, where it stayed for 11 years.
The firm made the national news during Bill Clinton’s presidency when it made a replica of the White House for Socks, the Clinton’s cat.