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TMCNet:  Petco plans county's first Unleashed

[February 25, 2013]

Petco plans county's first Unleashed

Feb 25, 2013 (The Columbian - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- National pet retailer Petco plans to bring its smaller concept, Unleashed by Petco, to Vancouver's Mill Plain Heights neighborhood, according to public documents issued in January to request construction bids.

A July opening is anticipated for the store, a company representative said by email. The store will be in the Safeway-anchored Vancouver Heights shopping complex on the corner of East Mill Plain Boulevard and Andresen Road. It will take up approximately 5,600 square feet of space formerly occupied by a Blockbuster Video store, about half the size of a traditional Petco store, and employ about 10 people, The San Diego-based company already operates three full-sized Petco stores in Clark County: in the Cascade Park area, in Hazel Dell and in the Orchards area.

Unleashed stores carry everyday pet essentials, such as food, treats, medicine and accessories. But unlike the larger stores, the smaller Unleashed model does not carry actual pets, such as fish, turtles and birds. Still, according to the Petco website, staff at the smaller stores are trained to give knowledgeable pet information, and the stores also aim to provide a neighborhood gathering place for pet owners by offering classes and community outreach programs.

The planned Unleashed store will be Vancouver's first, although the concept has already debuted in Portland where Petco operates two such stores, one on West Burnside Street and another off Southeast Powell Boulevard.

Petco's smaller stores give the company an opportunity to generate sales as an urban in-fill model and as a neighborhood market, competing head on with mom-and-pop pet stores, said Deborah Ewing, a vice president and retail real estate broker with Eric Fuller & Associates Inc.

Ewing compared Petco's smaller store concept to mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s smaller grocery store concept, called the Neighborhood Market.

"It's like Wal-Mart, Petco can't have a large store on every corner," she said. "So, they're trying to capture your dollar and give you more options." The new Unleashed store will take up the only vacant space available in the Vancouver Heights complex, according to Scott Lindgren, a senior vice president with Vancouver-based C.E. John Co. Inc., which owns the center.

In addition to Petco and Safeway, the center's tenants are Vintage Books, Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza, RadioShack, Edible Arrangements, Edward Jones, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and Weight Watchers. The center also provides space for the nonprofit Northwest Children's Outreach, a charitable organization for poor children.

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___ (c)2013 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) Visit The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) at www.columbian.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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