By Joyce Ervin

Pet owners came from miles around to the grand opening and Red Ribbon Cutting ceremony hosted by the Milan Area Chamber of Commerce held on March 24 at Pet Valu pet store located 523 West Main St. in the Kroger Co. plaza.
Dogs of all breeds and their owners came to check the place out that advertises the stores’ employees as pet experts all certified in health and nutrition.
They have to know their stuff judging by the variety of products available to include healthy treats for cats and dogs and their own food brand, Performatrin.
They offer specialty items including an array of toys, special decorated cookies great for celebrating a pets’ favorite occasions, catnip and a nutritional cat grass formulated for felines to chomp on.  The shelves are loaded from floor to ceiling with pet needs.
Owners are welcome to bring their pets shopping or to have them either groomed by professionals or bath their pets themselves.  Wendy Rudisill and Nancy Becker came from Ypsilanti and donned rubber aprons before putting their nine-month-old dog, Kallie, a Keeshond, in the tub for her first bath.  Self-serve bathing includes products, towels, etc., and store manager, Rachael Goodrich said, “we clean up all the mess.”
Further, she said, any pet is welcome to use the facilities not just dogs and cats.  Recently a baby goat came for a bath.
Barb and John Ginther traveled from Saline to check out what was available for the abandoned cat, named Sweetums, they adopted.  While munching on a donut, John said they would be back.
City officials, councilwoman Ann Gee, councilman Ed Kolar and Milan Mayor Dominic Hamden, joined the prospective customers.  Jade Smith, city administrator and vice president of the chamber was also in attendance.
 A special guest, Milan’s First Puppy Maize, an eight-year-old, half lab, half shepherd and pure menace accompanied the mayor.  Hamden said this was a wonderful time to be mayor in Milan, as many new businesses were opening almost every month.  He added, Pet Valu is a fine business for Milan and the surrounding area.  Hamden said, “Milan is a great city for people with pets, and I know they are going to be successful.”
The store gave free goodie bags to the first 50 customers to make a purchase and Twist and Shout made pets out of balloons for little visitors.
Ongoing specials are offered to include every last Tuesday of the month offering a ten percent discount to seniors and veterans.  Goodrich said the store does price matching.
Smith said, he was elated for pet owners in the city for the services the establishment offers.  He said, “It fills a void needed in the city.”
Brittany Fenrich brought her pure-bred blue-tick beagle, Porthos, named after the Three Musketeers to check out what was offered.
Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. For information call 508-6563 or visit their Facebook page.

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan.  She can be contacted at:  jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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