By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Pets with a penchant for shopping are in luck: The neighborhood is about to get a second Petco store, just blocks from another of the retailer's locations on Broadway and 92nd Street.
The pet store is moving into a 20,117-square-foot space in the Columbus Square shopping complex, between 97th and 100th streets on Columbus Avenue, which is already home to a Whole Foods, T.J. Maxx, Michael's Arts and Crafts, and Sephora.
That means local residents’ furry friends will have two pet emporiums within eight blocks of each other, but Petco is coy on whether the move means the Upper West Side has a higher-than-average pet count.
"The research that we did proved that we could support two stores in that part of Manhattan, but I can't reveal what that was because it's proprietary information," said Petco spokeswoman Jenie Altruda.
"Obviously, if we're building two stores, we feel like there's a market for two stores in that area."
While some Upper West Siders worry that big-box retailers such as Petco are squeezing out mom-and-pop stores, smaller pet stores in the neighborhood said they weren't too concerned about competition from Petco.
Lisa Borregine, owner of the New York Dog Shop on West 73rd Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West, said her store offers higher quality merchandise than Petco.
"There's a little bit of overlap, but not much," Borregine said. "A lot of customers have told me that they don't carry the same merchandise [that we do]. It's a Petco; we're a boutique."
Melissa Martin, co-manager at Pet Stop on Columbus Avenue between 87th and 88th streets, said Petco can offer bulk food at lower prices. But her store sells hard-to-find food brands such as Precise, which is for dogs with sensitive stomachs, and Honest Kitchen, which makes gluten-free pet food.
Martin said Pet Stop also provides better service than the big chains.
"I don't think they really know a lot about nutrition for dogs and cats," Martin said. "I think we help our customer with that, and Petco can't."