Petco opening new store in Oak Harbor

A national pet-supply retailer is moving into Oak Harbor, but the owner of the city’s longtime, family-owned pet store isn’t worried about the competition.

“For me, it doesn’t change a lot of things,” said Brian Knoll, owner of Island Pet Center. “We’re going to continue to take care of our customers like we always have. We’re going to continue to offer fair, competitive prices, like we always have.”

Petco plans to open a store in a vacant building on State Highway 20 across from the Albertson’s supermarket, according to documents filed with the city of Oak Harbor. The building used to house a Blockbuster Video and a payday loan business.

Permit Place, a company that owns the building, submitted an application to the city of Oak Harbor for tenant improvements.

Documents show that the owner plans to remodel the entire building for an 8,000-square-foot Petco store. Drawings show areas in the store for birds, small animals, reptiles, aquatics and pet grooming.

A spokesperson for Petco said the store should open next year, but officials don’t have a date set. Although the building is smaller than some of their stores, she said it will be a full Petco and not one of the smaller “Unleashed by Petco” stores.

Petco has advertised for jobs at an Oak Harbor store.

Knoll and his family have owned Island Pet Center for 36 years.

Competing against Petco and other large retailers is nothing new for him, he said, especially with so many people going off the island to shop.

His business model is to take part in and support the community, he said.

“Hopefully, for us it comes down to relationships we have with people,” he said. “That’s what we’ve based ourbusiness on — relationships.”

Of course, there’s also the draw of glass tanks filled with beautiful and exotic fish, colorful coral and water plants, as well as lizards and other crawly creatures that have attracted children and adults alike for a generation.


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