Petco to open at Bonner Mall

PONDERAY — The addition of Petco at Bonner Mall early next year should open up the commercial center to a new breed of shopper.

Mall officials announced Wednesday the national pet retail chain plans to open a new location in Bonner Mall. Some structural alterations to the mall building in the coming months will result in a major retail space about 13,000 square feet in size, paving the way for the pet store to move in around February or March, according to mall manager Tom Hix.  

“It’s going to be a nice-sized space,” Hix said. “It won’t be our biggest, but it’s still a large addition.”

The agreement between the mall and Petco brings an successful end to almost two years of negotiations between the two parties, according to Hix. Early last year, Hix reached out to Petco officials with the possibility of installing a new location in the retail space.

Petco officials then launched into a lengthy period of review panels and analysis, gauging the viability of launching a new location in Ponderay. The research concluded with an agreement to set up shop near the Sears store.

Before that can happen, however, a few alterations need to be made in the mall’s established division of retail space.

According to Hix, workers will need to knock down a few walls and install the signature Petco frontage along the mall exterior.

Once all that is accomplished, the business can begin the process of moving in shelving, inventory, cages and equipment.

Bidding is under way for a contractor to handle the job, which Hix believes will begin within a week or two.

The Ponderay Petco will offer a variety of services consistent with the chain’s national business model. Established pet owners can pick up food, toys, habitats and more from the store, while pet sales will be available for prospective owners. The store will also feature grooming and medical services for animals, Hix said.

“I think the community will appreciate having a store like that around here,” he added.

According to Hix, established mall retailers are optimistic about the new addition, too. He believes by diversifying the types of stores in the retail center, the mall will bring in new types of consumers who may choose to browse other businesses as well.

“I think everyone’s excited about this,” he said.

“Once customers are in the parking lot, the odds of them getting in (retailers’) stores are very good.”

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