'Pet superstore could close our businesses'
PET shop owners in Bodmin say their businesses will be under threat if a national retail chain is allowed an out-of-town store.
Pets at Home want to open at the Bodmin Retail Park off Launceston Road but a petition is up and running opposing the application.
The two town centre pet shops, Pets Corner and Muddy Paws, could be forced to close if the company moves in, say their proprietors.
Tammy Searle, who runs Pets Corner in Lower Bore Street, said if Cornwall Council approve the planning application it would not only have a detrimental effect on the two independent pet supply shops, but town centre trade in general.
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She said: " If Pets at Home are allowed to open, it will drive more custom away from the town and threaten our pet businesses that give that personal, professional and knowledgeable service that the big chain stores never achieve.
"We need to concentrate on supporting the small independents and give them a chance to survive this already struggling economic climate and give the town a shop that is needed, not duplicates of what is already available. Why not concentrate on building the town centre instead of potentially closing more shops down?
"I have put my heart and soul into Pets Corner for nearly six years and feel very passionate about the care and knowledge I pass on to my customers; if Pets at Home are allowed to come into our town, potentially it could close my business or any other pet shop," she said.
Kirstan Powell, who set up Muddy Paws in the Market Arcade five years ago, agreed with Tammy Searle.
"It's quite worrying that a pet superstore wants to open in Bodmin, because it could kill off both our shops."
Bodmin Town Council has recommended to Cornwall Council the planning application be refused.
However, Lance Kennedy, Cornwall councillor for the Bodmin East ward, said it would be difficult for county planners to refuse the bid.
He said: "I fully support the petition but the retail unit which the company wants to move into already has a planning condition which allows the sale of pet supplies."
No one from Pets At Home was available for comment.