Amherstburg’s Pet Valu location finishes $200,000 expansion



By Jolene Perron


Thanks to the support of the community since 2003, owners of Amherstburg’s Pet Valu have been able to grow steadily, invest back into their community and most recently complete a large expansion renovation.

Deborah Gonda and her husband Kevin have been franchisees for 14 years, having started out in White Woods Mall with just a 1,700 square foot store. When they moved into their current location after the mall site was re-developed, they adopted a much more shopper friendly, boutique-style look Gonda said.

When the corporate office approached them a few months ago and suggested expanding into the empty store next to them, they asked “what are we getting ourselves into?”

“The expansion started in the last week of September, at which time we went to our national convention in Ottawa, where we were very surprised to learn we had made it into the ‘million dollar club’ which is no easy feat with stores such as sears closing in many communities,” explained Gonda. “Of course, being a franchise, we make only a small percentage of those sales, but still we had come a long way since our little store in the old mall. So we went from 2,400 square feet to 4,300 square feet. This is the approximate footprint that Pet Valu desires for its stores, which are approaching nearly 1,000 in Canada and even more in the U.S.”

Deborah and Kevin Gonda recently completed an expansion of their Pet Valu store in Amherstburg.

The expansion has allowed Gonda and her husband to expand from three shopping aisles to six. She said it’s not even that they have new product but rather they have more room and customers can see everything better that they’ve carried all along. They carry products such as raw pet food from Big Country Raw, which comes from the Niagara region.

“Raw diets are an alternative method of feeding that result in better smelling breath, less gas, nicer teeth and a shiny coat,” said Gonda. “Chicken, turkey, beef and lamb are just a few of the flavours available. These diets include fruits, vegetables, organ meats/bone, which provide pets with nutrients needed to be healthy.”

Gonda said they also stock smelt, and a variety of bones, which are excellent, digestible chews for puppies and dogs and some formulas may be appropriate for cats as well.  She said all BCR food is hormone and antibiotic free.

“We’d also like to people to know that our house brand of dog and cat food, Performatrin, is made in Elmira, has a loyalty program of buy 12 bags within 2 years, and get a free bag, and has several tiers, including super premium, with brown rice, grain-free, and hypoallergenic, with one protein and one carb and very limited ingredients, which are excellent for pets with allergies,” said Gonda.

Not only did their expansion allow for a better display of their products, but they also added a self-serve, double dog wash station. It’s made will all ceramic tile, which gives it a very classy look according to Gonda.

They provide the bath, shampoo, towers, water and “leave the mess with us,” service for a fee of $10. Their dog wash station also has a loyalty program.

Above the dog wash station is a mural painted by local artist Dennis White and his done Dylan. The team have been commissioned to paint the murals above all the Pet Valu franchise dog wash stations and reflect the community they are within. Gonda and her husband chose the Navy Yard Park to be featured in their mural because of its history and picturesque waterfront where many dogs have enjoyed walking. Their mural even includes their store cat Flame, Lizzie the lizard and Gonda and her husband’s backs all walking along the waterfront.

“All in all, we are happy with the expansion and the community support,” said Gonda. “We have moved our store forward and feel confident that we have made the right decision!”



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