Pet Supermarket

Pet Supermarket, a Florida-based chain, plans to build a store behind the Whataburger at Lake Air and Valley Mills drives. Pet Supermarket will take 8,000 to 9,000 square feet of a 14,000-square-foot retail development there.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson

A growing Florida-based chain called Pet Supermarket will place a store in Waco to anchor a 14,000-square-foot retail center near Lake Air and Valley Mills drives and the H-E-B on Wooded Acres Drive.

“They approached us about their plans to develop sites in Texas, and wanted to be in Waco,” said Eric Walker, a partner in Houston-based Capital Retail Properties, which brokered the deal on the land.

Pet Supermarket will take 8,000 to 9,000 square feet in the center, which will rise on 1.4 acres that became available for development when the old Richard Karr Motors location was demolished and the dealership moved to West Loop 340 on Waco’s “Motor Mile.” A Whataburger was built elsewhere on the cleared site.

Waco real estate agent Brad Davis represented group that sold the land, Weaver GP LLC, a partnership named after longtime Waco car dealer Frank Weaver, who operated a Pontiac dealership on the site for decades.

“I think the key to this deal was Pet Supermarket’s desire to locate near the H-E-B,” Davis said. “I understand they prefer sites near grocery stores.”

Walker said the chain is planning store openings in larger markets around Texas, including Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Waco is gaining a reputation statewide as a hot retail market, and he has two or three other prospects wanting to join Pet Supermarket in the city, he said.

Pet Business Magazine last year placed Pet Supermarket sixth on its list of top pet retailers in the country. Pet Supermarket’s 159 stores put it behind Arizona-based PetSmart’s 1,433 stores and California-based Petco’s 1,292 stores, both of which have locations in Greater Waco. Others ranked ahead of Pet Supermarket were Pet Valu, Pet Supplies Plus and Global Pet Foods, according to the list.

Walker said the Pet Supermarket chain is approaching 200 stores as it expands outside the Southeast. Some may consider its merchandise upscale, he said.

Pet Supermarket sells more than 10,000 pet-care products, including food, toys, medicine and clothing, through its website and in its stores, according to an online profile by business research firm Hoovers. Stores also offer vaccinations for dogs, cats and ferrets and sell a variety of small animals including hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and tropical fish, according to the site.

The company also hosts adoptions and related events to promote animal welfare, and customers are welcome to shop in Pet Supermarket stores with their pets, according to Hoovers.

The company website said the chain was founded in 1973 as Pet Circus, and the family-owned company became Pet Supermarket in 1986.

Don Bland, executive director of the Humane Society of Central Texas, said he welcomes the arrival of Pet Supermarket to the community.

“PetSmart and Petco are wonderful supporters of animal shelters, and I hope this company is as philanthropic as its counterparts,” Bland said. “Anything that helps animals is a plus, and maybe Pet Supermarket will embed itself in the community and help the Humane Society and Waco Animal Shelter to save as many lives as possible.”

Calls and email messages to Pet Supermarket seeking comment were not returned by late afternoon Wednesday.

Walker said Pet Supermarket likely will open early in 2018.

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