Pet Supply Chain Sniffs Store Deals

March 12, 2010

By Sarah Duxbury, San Francisco Business Times

Pet Food Express is finding that the recession has made real estate more pet friendly.

The San Leandro-based chain of 35 Northern California pet food stores will open a Burlingame store in a shuttered Blockbuster in August. The company is trying to complete four more deals in 2010, said Michael Levy, founder and CEO of Pet Food Express. He hopes to do up to seven more in 2011.

“We see this as an amazing growth period,” Levy said.

Burlingame’s is not the only failed Blockbuster that Levy wanted to go to the dogs. The company tried to take over a vacant Blockbuster on Lombard Street in San Francisco’s Marina district, only to be shot down by Prop G, the city’s anti-chain store ordinance.

“Certainly the video stores have opened up opportunities for us, and lots of other people,” Levy said. On average, its stores are about 7,000 square feet, though Pet Food Express did open a 12,000-square-foot store in Walnut Creek in November.

Nor is Pet Food Express chary of the bigger competitors. Levy said the Antioch store is just one-third of a mile from a Petco and 100 yards from a PetSmart.

Though Levy wouldn’t discuss revenue or how much the company is growing, he did say that in 2009, stores that had been open at least a year saw double-digit sales increases. The chain is profitable, and self-funds all expansion.

Vacancies caused by the recession have opened up opportunities for companies like Pet Foo


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