PetSmart welcomes four-legged customers

Jeanette Kendall

Pet lovers have a new place to take their dogs or cats, and it is not a park.

The new PetSmart is now open in East Peoria. The store had a “soft” opening Monday and will have a grand opening Saturday.

Toby Howell, operations manager, said during the grand opening there will be demonstrations, giveaways, samples and more.

Those who bring their pets in must have them on a leash, and pets must be vaccinated.

Scott Huber, store director, was busy with a crew on Friday, stocking shelves. But, he said, “We’re ready.”

On Friday, Huber said people are looking forward to the store opening.

“The phone’s ringing off the hook. People are trying to come in,” Huber said, adding the Peoria PetSmart has even been receiving phone calls from people inquiring about the East Peoria location.

Huber said the Peoria PetSmart is very successful.

“They’re almost operating to the point where we needed to open another store for some relief,” Huber said.

The new 20,000-square-foot business is smaller than the Peoria store but will feature the same products and services.

Huber said they offer a substantial collection of cat and dog products, as well as grooming and pet training. PetSmart also offers a place for local agencies to adopt out cats and dogs.

“Our purpose is to provide total lifetime care for your pet,” Huber said.

PetSmart will also eventually feature a full-service veterinarian in-house. Huber said they are currently searching for someone to fill that position.

Thirty employees — some from the Peoria store and some new staff — will work at the East Peoria PetSmart.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Grooming hours are by appointment starting at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.

PetSmart officials, Huber said, have specific criteria when locating a new store in a community. PetSmart officials study demographics to determine what the customers want, Huber added.

“We’re very excited to be a part of the community,” Huber said.

PetSmart works with local animal shelters, such as PAWS, TAPS, The Ark and Friends of Strays, to adopt out cats and dogs.

“PetSmart believes there are too many homeless pets to make a profit on them,” Huber said.

Cats are available for adoptions Monday through Friday, and dogs are available for adoption Saturday and Sunday.

Small animals, reptiles and fish are sold at PetSmart. Some of the small animals and reptiles include rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, and turtles.

Huber said PetSmart’s prices are competitive.

The store is located at 208 River Road near Wal-Mart in East Peoria.

The store’s phone number is 698-5425.