THE manager of Pets at Home has said he hopes the pet superstore will be seen as a "local" store.
Nigel Thijs said the emphasis in the Douglas store will be on providing good customer service and pet care to the local community.
Pets at Home, which is on the Spring Valley Industrial Estate, was officially opened this morning (Friday) by the Deputy Mayor of Douglas Councillor David Ashford.
Speaking after the store was opened Nigel said: "We're excited. The team has done really well. We've all worked very very hard to get to this stage.
"It's very much about customer service and pet care – educating people in how to look after the animals that they have, correctly, making sure that the animal is as happy as it can be and has a natural environment to live in. That makes the animal happy which makes the owner happy."
The new Pets at Home store features a Pet Adoption Centre, an aquatic centre with cold water and tropical fish and a reptile centre. There is also trained staff on site who can administer veterinary medicines for fleas and worms.
Nigel said he hoped that pet owners would be able to find the products they want and need in the shop.
He continued: “We cater for, hopefully, everyone with the range of stock we carry. Hopefully it will mean that people will be able to get what they want - all under one roof.
"We've got everything for cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, reptiles and fish through to chickens! It's somewhere for everyone to come and get everything that they need."
Pets are also welcome in the store. Nigel said: "Who can choose what treat they want better than the dog themselves? As long as they are well behaved and kept on a leash then we have no problem at all with people bringing their pets in."
Children from Anagh Coar School were invited to the opening of the Pets at Home store as special guests. They were treated to a tour of the new shop and had a chance to meet some furry friends in the Pet Adoption Centre.
The adoption centre will look after small animals that need re-homing including rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters.
Nigel explained: "If people can no longer look after their animals, for whatever reason, then they can bring them in. As long as we have room in the Pet Adoption Centre we will take the animals off them and look after them until we can find them a responsible new home.
"We don't make anything from that – the company pays for the upkeep of the animals and the care. When they find a new home we ask the owner to give a donation to charity – that goes into a central fund within the company and then the company distributes that to local charities.
"It's not just our money going into a pot in the UK – it's the 300 plus stores in the UK collecting money to go towards our charities as well."
Pets at Home has pledged to support local animal charities in the Isle of Man. Last month it appealed for nominations of charities that the public would like to see helped.
Nigel explained: "We haven't decided which charity we are going to choose yet as we are still waiting for more nominations. We can partner with more than one. If there are any local charities that would like sponsorship in any way then I would be delighted to hear from them."
He continued: "Obviously being part of the community is one of the key aims of the store. Yes it is a big company but we would like to think that we can keep that local persona.
"Everyone within the store is local – all the colleagues and the managers - it's not just a faceless corporation. We would like to be the local store - OK it's bigger and it has everything in it but we still want to be seen as a 'local' store."
Pets at Home is offering customers 10 per cent off purchases during its opening weekend(December 9-11).
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below: