By PAUL SIMS
Those operating a recently-opened store in Starkville will be going into its first holiday retail season hoping shoppers will keep pets in mind while community officials encourage local spending.
The owners of North Mississippi Pet Supply opened the store the last week of August in about 2,000-square-feet of retail space.
The stores co-owners are Mark Threet and Thom Gordon.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been talking about it as many years as I‚Äôve known Thom,‚ÄĚ Threet said, adding they had nowhere nearly to go for especially after Gone Fishin‚Äô, a pet store in downtown Starkville, closed.
They spent their spare time researching reptiles and it ‚Äújust kind of grew from there,‚ÄĚ Threet said.
Allison Matthews, vice president of membership and community development, says several new businesses have opened in Starkville throughout this year.
One of these is North Mississippi Pet Supply.
Plus, ‚Äúwe‚Äôve had several more businesses that have had the opportunity to grow. Numerous businesses have relocated where they could expand their merchandise or be in a better location to serve their customers,‚ÄĚ Matthews said.
‚Äú ... Throughout the year, despite hearing news that was not as good on the national scale, Starkville businesses have really done well in 2010. Therefore, there‚Äôs a lot of great choices for people shopping in Starkville. There‚Äôs just so many retail stores that have wonderful gift selection, whether that‚Äôs home decor, electronics ... there‚Äôs just a great variety of anything you could want available here in Starkville. Over the year in 2010 we can definitely see that the selection has grown,‚ÄĚ Matthews said.
She says based on the number of ribbon cuttings and businesses ‚Äúwe‚Äôve had the opportunity to help celebrate new locations for existing businesses or brand-new businesses,‚ÄĚ there is more retail to choose from now in Starkville than there was a year ago.
‚ÄúI certainly would encourage everyone as they do their shopping
to please shop Starkville first. This is an important time of year for retail businesses and we have so much to choose from; there‚Äôs no reason for us to look any further than our local merchants,‚ÄĚ Matthews said.
‚ÄúMoney spent locally stays local by creating local jobs and funding community improvements through the tax revenues. So in addition to consumers saving money and gas by staying close to home, they‚Äôre actually doing a great community service by shopping in their home community,‚ÄĚ she said.
Regarding a goal for the holiday season at North Mississippi Pet Supply, Threet said it is ‚Äúto create a ... variety and encourage‚ÄĚ people to remember their pets at the holiday season. They‚Äôre part of the family too.‚ÄĚ
The main thing the staff at North Mississippi Pet Supply does is take special orders and requests, Threet said.
If a customer doesn‚Äôt see what they need, chances are the staff can order the item and have it in within a week or two, he said, adding ‚Äúthis goes for pets as well as retail items.‚ÄĚ
Threet said: ‚ÄúOur main goal is for people to come in and say ‚ÄėWow, they have something new‚Äô every time they come in,‚ÄĚ adding store personnel try to bring in new items as often as they‚Äôre able.
He also said: ‚ÄúThis is the only pet store in town. We want to meet and exceed expectations for what people want.‚ÄĚ Threet added that people are welcome to bring in their pets.
The store also adopts out cats for Oktibbeha County Humane Society.
Plus, Stefanie Fulgham offers full-service grooming inside the store through her business known as Pretty Paws.
Grooming is available Tuesday through Saturday ‚Äď appointments are suggested but walk-ins are welcome.
Day staff members are Heather Gilbert and Whitney Holeman, as is Stephen Austin.
Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. It is located at 823-D Highway 12 West.
For information, call 461-7387.