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Petco to close local store

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Petco pet supply store on Tuesday at Golden East Crossing Mall.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Golden East Crossing mall will lose another tenant early next year.

Petco will close its Rocky Mount store on Jan. 24, 2015, said the company’s marketing communications specialist, Megan Oxford, in a written statement. Oxford declined to say how many employees will be impacted by the closing. Petco sells products for pets from birds, reptiles and fish to dogs and cats. The store also provides veterinary and grooming services.

The pet retail chain opened in the mall on March 15, 2008. The niche store filled the space vacated by Books-A-Million, which moved to another section in the mall, occupying nearly 16,000 square feet.

“Petco thanks the pet parents of Rocky Mount for their patronage throughout the years, and we hope they will continue to consider Petco first for all of their pets’ needs,” Oxford said. “Pet.com and the Petco locations in Raleigh are ready to welcome the loyal customers from the North Wesleyan Boulevard location and provide them with the same outstanding products, services and advice to keep their pets physically fit, mentally alert, socially engaged and emotionally happy.”

The loss of Petco still leaves Rocky Mount with another major pet retailer, PetSmart on Jeffreys Road, which has long sold speciality pet supplies and provided services such as grooming and dog training, cat and dog boarding facilities and daycare.

Mayor David Combs said PetSmart’s success in the area made it hard for another competitor to flourish.

“Unfortunately, the situation with Petco competing with PetSmart probably made it hard to know how long it was going to survive in this region,” he said. “PetSmart has had a longer and stronger hold than any other pet store in this market and has done a really good job of competing in this market.”

Brandt Harrell and his fiancee Shannon Harris were shopping Tuesday in Petco for a fish aquarium for Harrell’s new apartment. Harrell recently moved to Rocky Mount. Both pet lovers were shocked and disappointed to hear the news about the closing of Petco.

“It’s a shame, and we can’t get a lot of what we want at Wal-Mart,” Harris said. “There is also a lot of stuff we can’t get online – especially when you need it right now.”

Levonne White, a substitute teacher at Princeville Elementary School, who was helping chaperon a group of Princeville Elementary students, said her 23-year-old daughter, Tyesha White, is a repeat Petco customer.

“She bought her hamster and a couple cages here for her pet,” White said. “She usually came here to get her supplies and pet food. I guess she’s going to have to go to Greenville.

With the impending loss of Petco, the mall will have to deal with the eyesore of two storefront vacancies facing the busy traffic coming off Wesleyan Boulevard. The mall has yet to fill the space after the departure of big-box store Best Buy left in 2012. Steve Spiegel, a development partner at Atlanta-based Hendon Properties that owns the mall, said in a previous story that Best Buy has a lease on its space through 2015 and has the right to sublease the property to another store.

Combs said he is confident mall officials are working diligently to recruit vendors to occupy the vacant space left by other tenants. Mall officials could not be reached for comment by presstime.

“The mall owners are out there recruiting businesses and looking to create more interest by getting more vendors in the mall,” he said.

Petco now has products 10 percent to 30 percent off the original price, except for dog and cat food and selected items.

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