Clawing at the Competition
P.G.’s family-owned pet shops protest the approval of a new chain store.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
With a name like Pet Extreme, Pacific Grove’s newest pet shop may have a hard time presenting itself as just another mom-and-pop.
Six small, locally owned P.G. pet businesses – Stone’s Pet Shop, Best Pets and Posh Pets, plus three grooming services – are leading a protest of the chain store they say could shut them down.
“They’re picking on the little kids on the playground,” says Stone’s co-owner Tom Radcliffe.
Radcliffe is upset Pet Extreme plans to open a store just a short sprint from Stone’s, into the 7,000-plus-square-foot space vacated by Hollywood Video in the Country Club Gate Center.
“For them to move in 230 feet from us, that’s not cool,” Radcliffe says. “And for the city to approve a store this close to someone who’s been paying sales tax for 60 years – where’s the loyalty?”
Pet Extreme’s retail space has already gotten the green light. On May 6, despite opposition from dozens of residents, the P.G. Planning Commission also approved a use permit for an in-store pet grooming salon. The permit will be open to appeal for 10 days.
P.G. planners say the city doesn’t have much authority to reject Pet Extreme outright, since it meets city codes.
“We can’t discriminate against who the business owner is if they comply with all the requirements,” planner Sarah Hardgrave says.
Pet Extreme President Matt Swanson says the Turlock-based chain, which includes nine stores, is a family-owned business too. His in-laws live in Pebble Beach, he says, and his general manager is a P.G. High alum.
“We were a little dismayed that people were protesting [in P.G.]. We’ve never had that happen before,” he says. “We’re not here to go after anybody. We’re gonna be a part of this community.”