As I mentioned yesterday, independent pet supply stores are getting really hard to find. PetSmart and Petco are never far away, though, and as we’ve seen with independent book stores, small coffee shops, and mom-and-pop hardware stores, it’s hard for the independently-owned store to survive with a superstore nearby.
It’s gotten almost passe to complain about the Wal-Martization of America or the increased building of McMansions. But just because everyone whines about it, doesn’t mean that it’s any closer to going away. This became quite clear recently when local pet shop Pets Etc. closed down. That’s where we bought our betta fish Moe (RIP) last year and where we went often to stock up on supplies for him. They’d been around since 1989 and were considered to be progressive with regards to animal welfare. Unfortunately, last month, they closed.
The owners of the Plaza Center in Leesburg (according to the sign, Federal Realty Investment Trust, perhaps the most generically named company ever) reportedly would not renew Pets Etc.’s lease this year because of the giantbigandnew PetSmart being built next door, where a K-Mart used to stand. I can tell you: this town needs another pet superstore like we need another grocery store: we’ve already got a Petco a mile away from where the Petsmart is being built (and there are five supermarkets in a two mile radius from my house).
Needless to say, I won’t be spending my money at the PetSmart, and I’ve written to FRIT to let them know this. Will it make a difference? Probably not. But I think that the former proprietors of Pets Etc. would appreciate it.