Local pet store owners feel threatened by national franchise - NBC40.net

Local pet store owners feel threatened by national franchise

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The owner of a small, local pet store in Somers Point is concerned about new competition that will soon open a few stores down.

Barbara Parrott owns a small local pet store in Somers Point, and she says when PetSmart opens just a few stores down, it will be tough for her business. "Corporate America is killing the little guys. It's either going to make or break me. I hope my customers are still loyal but it's going to be a fight, a battle. It's hard to fight against a big company like that."

Officials with the Somers Point City Planning Board say they welcome the national franchise to their city and expect it to bring in new consumers and merchants.

Paul Striefsky is Chairperson of the Board and told NBC40, “It'll bring jobs, it will bring traffic to Somers Point, and you will see it spillover into other businesses. Somers Point is happy to have a national franchise come to our city. We are looking to build up more businesses. We have had 86 businesses, either come to Somers Point, or expand, in the last three years and that's been our goal to bring more businesses to Somers Point."

Parrott says her store offers a type of customer service that customers are not going to get at a larger retailer. "I have faith in my customers."

The New World Pet Center hopes their regular customers will continue to shop there, and generate enough business to keep them in business.

Eric Duschlbauer helps out at New World Pet Center and explained, "We have to be positive and keep positive, and you know, just have that faith in your customers like she said."

City officials say Pet Smart plans on hiring about 50 people to staff the new store.

Meanwhile, owners of the New World Pet Center say they will remodel and add to their fish and reptile section - something they say Pet Smart doesn't specialize in, like they do.

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