Shopping for a Pet Store


My favorite pet store closed last week. At first I thought the closing might be a result of the weakened economy, but then I heard that the owner, with whom I’d had a friendly relationship for a few years, had passed away unexpectedly. It was very sad to hear of her passing, and I offer my deepest sympathies to her family.

So now I am forced to choose another pet store to frequent. I have a few options. The first store is a local New York City chain located just a few blocks from my apartment. It is clean and stocks the products that I usually purchase for my cat, but the store has no sense of community. It lacks the bulletin board full of pet photos and upcoming pet events that my old store had. And, while the staff seems nice, none of the employees seem interested in chatting about anything that isn’t related to the purchase I’m making.

My second option is a small, independent store that is a 15-minute walk from my apartment. While it is a pain to get to, and carrying cat litter home is quite annoying, the staff is wonderful and the store hosts a variety of events. This store also carries all of the products I need, but mustering up the energy to go there after a long day at work can be quite difficult.

My final option is a national franchise that is located a few blocks away from my office. The store is not always clean, and I would have to carry my purchase all the way home on the train. Still, the products are less expensive and the store is conveniently located on my way to the subway.

After weighing my options and considering all the factors—convenience/location, price, staff competence and attitude, community involvement, etc. I reached a compromise. I decided to make a few suggestions to the owner of the local franchise near my apartment. I dropped off a letter in which I recommended that the store host a few events and put up a community bulletin board. I also proposed a frequent buyer program. If the store takes my suggestions seriously, it will become my new favored location. If not, I will make the 15-minutes walk to the other store. And, in cases of emergency, I may stop into the national franchise for a can of food or two.

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