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Prospect of incoming pet store piques local interest

A PETCO plans to open in the area this October, with even more Florida locations in the works. Pet owners like the idea.

By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 12, 2002


BEACH PARK -- Owners of South Tampa's pampered pets will soon have a new place to buy treats, toys and premium dog food.

PETCO, one of the nation's largest pet superstores, expects to open in October in the Town Square Center at West Shore and Kennedy boulevards. It joins Panera Bread, Starbucks, Pier 1 Imports and the planned Gaetano's Italian Market.

As in other PETCOs, shoppers can bring along their four-legged friends.

The 13,000-square-foot store will sell birds, reptiles and small critters, such as hamsters and gerbils. It also will stock fresh and saltwater fish and supplies.

The store won't sell dogs or cats, said spokesman Shawn Underwood. Instead, it will invite local animal groups to hold instore adoptions.

In addition to pet supplies, the store will offer grooming and veterinary services. Nutritionists and obedience trainers will be brought in to give demonstrations.

Some pet owners are panting at the prospects.

Linda Levy of Culbreath Isles said she'd be among the first customers. The owner of a Maltese named Sophie and standard poodle named Roxy, she often drives to PETsMART in Citrus Park for flavored rawhide treats.

"This will be so much easier," she said. "Sophie and Roxy are looking forward to walking to the new store."

Marvin Solomon can't wait to have a pet superstore closer to his home in Beach Park Isles. Now, he goes to the Pet Supermarket on N Dale Mabry Highway for goodies for his Maluccan cockatoo named Sydney and his son's keeshond named Silver.

PETCO started in San Diego in 1965 and operates more than 570 stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia. It's a publicly traded company on Nasdaq under the PETC abbreviation.

Four Florida stores will open this year: Carrollwood in September; Westshore, New Tampa and Casselberry in October.

-- Amy Scherzer can be reached at 226-3332 or scherzer@sptimes.com.

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