Pet supplies retailer Petco has chosen Simi Valley as the location of its new concept store, a scaled down version of its larger locations that put an emphasis on creating strong bonds between people and their pets. Unleashed by Petco opened in November in a 3,000-square-foot space on Tapo Canyon Road, the second such store from the chain. The first store opened in May in San Diego where Petco is headquartered with a third location, also in the San Diego area, scheduled to open early in 2010. Unleashed will sell many of the best selling items available at the larger stores but will not include live animals. The smaller format gives the opportunity to be community specific, said Greg Seremetis, director of marketing for Petco. The closest Petco stores to Simi Valley are in the west San Fernando Valley, the Conejo Valley, Moorpark and Camarillo. Simi Valley was chosen as the location for Unleashed because the chain saw a need for a specialty pet store in the area. “We heard a lot of folks that shopped (at Porter Ranch) were excited we were opening in Simi Valley,” Seremetis said. While other retailers are struggling, even going out of business, that is not the case when it comes to pets. Spending by owners (or pet parents) on animals, supplies and services has steadily increased during the 15 years that the American Pet Products Association has tracked those numbers. This year the association estimates spending at $45.4 billion with the largest category being food at $17.4 billion. Petco is always looking for new concepts to expand its business with Unleashed falling into that category. The two stores feature premium natural and organic foods and have as their anchor points the contact between store employees and customers, and a community area that will host special events such as pet adoptions, nutrition lectures, and breed specific parties. “It is exciting for us to see the engagement of these new customers coming in,” Seremetis said. “We encourage people to come in with their pets to the store. We created an environment around that.” As the stores are experimental they became test areas for new ways to operate, to train the sales staff, and be product specific, Seremetis said. The two Unleashed stores, for instance, sell raw frozen food not available at the larger locations. “Simi Valley benefited from the learning done at the first store in San Diego,” Seremetis added.
Petco Unleashes New Concept Store