Last updated: July 21. 2014 11:32AM - 1351 Views
By - jbaxley@civitasmedia.com

Jaymie Baxley | The Robesonian Petsense manager Heather Ryan cradles the store's kitten mascot, Pickles. The pet supply shop opened last month on Fayetteville Road in Lumberton.
Jaymie Baxley | The Robesonian Petsense manager Heather Ryan cradles the store's kitten mascot, Pickles. The pet supply shop opened last month on Fayetteville Road in Lumberton.
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LUMBERTON — A new retailer in Lumberton hopes to become a one-stop destination for pet owners across Robeson County.

Petsense on Fayetteville Road packs a dizzying array of food, medicine, toys and other pet accessories into its modest 4,800 square foot space. The vast assortment of products lining the store’s shelves is worth noting, as it’s one of the smallest in the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based chain.

Founded in 2005, Petsense operates more than 100 stores across 21 states, most of which serve rural communities.

The Lumberton store, which joins 13 other Petsense locations in North Carolina, held its grand opening on June 11, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 14.

Things have been off to a good start, according to Heather Ryan, who manages the store.

“The response has been really good and people are excited that they don’t have to go to Fayetteville,” she said. “Places like Walmart don’t tend to carry premium dog and cat food. I haven’t seen a place that carries such a diverse range.”

Last week, Petsense began offering discounts ranging from $2 to $10 on premium food brands as part of a company-wide savings initiative. According to Ryan, the price cuts should come as a relief to shoppers who have weaned their pets off low quality kibbles in favor of healthier brands, which are typically more expensive.

“[With premium brands] you’re going to feed a lot less,” she said. “So if you can get over the initial sticker shock, you’ll save money in the long run.”

Ryan pointed out that many pet owners are switching to brands that specialize in organic, grain-free options because of the health risks associated with mass-marketed foods.

“Dogs were not meant to eat corn and all that gluten puts dogs at risk for diabetes,” she said. “With the right food, you can extend the life of your dog or cat. Foods with fish are especially enriching.”

Ryan said that her staff of seven strives to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and advancements in the pet supply industry.

“I have a great staff and everybody is very willing to help. Everyone who works here has an affinity for pets and if you like animals, this is the perfect job,” Ryan said, adding that she cares more about matching pet owners with the right products than increasing the bottom line.

“We try to tailor each customer’s experience to the individual,” she said. “If you bring your pet here, I’ll take it by the paw.”

Other services offered at Petsense include grooming, bathing, vaccinations and obedience classes led by a professional dog trainer. The store also hosts a handful of adoptable cats through a partnership with the Robeson County Humane Society.

“We chose the humane society to adopt out cats to help solve a space issue that they have,” said Ryan, who is in the process of organizing an outdoor adoption event on Sept. 13 that will spotlight animals from multiple shelters.

“We like to find forever homes,” she said.

Petsense is located at 4327 Fayetteville Road in Lumberton. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. For information, call 910-802-4290, or email store.350@petsensellc.com.

Jaymie Baxley can be reached at jbaxley@civitasmedia.com, or on Twitter @Jaymie_Baxley.

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