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Dave’s Soda and Pet City owner to open store in Ware

By John Appleton

WARE – The owner of Dave’s Soda and Pet City is renovating the former Fashion Bug store on West Street and turning it into a pet food and supplies store which he plans to open by September.

“When you are a small company like we are, everyone gets so excited that you are coming to the community,” said owner Dave Ratner. “It is very cool.”

After starting 30 years ago with one store in Springfield, Ratner now also has stores in Agawam, Northampton and Hadley.

They sell pet food and supplies, and while soda sales makes up just a small percentage of the overall business, Ratner continues to offer soda at those stores, partly because it gives his business a quirky name that people remember.

The store in Ware will be smaller than the four existing ones and will not carry soda, so it will be called Dave’s Pet City.

The building, which was once a Big Y and most recently a Fashion Bug, has 9,600 square feet of useable space.

It is next to the current Big Y and across West Street from Walgreen’s.

Ratner said he was encouraged to open one of his stores there by the owners of Big Y, who own the building and are landlords for a couple of Ratner’s existing stores.

“They said they like me in their centers, and I looked and found there is nobody near there doing what I am doing, so I am not stealing business from anyone,” Ratner said.

He plans to hire eight to 10 employees, some part-time and some full-time, but he said he is not seeking any of the property tax breaks cities and towns offer that are tied to new jobs and business investment.

Ratner said there is not very much he needs to do to the building to make it a pet supplies store.

Carpeting was removed because his pallet moving equipment would have constantly torn it, and he said he needs to put up a sign, install automatic doors and move in fish tanks and a self-wash unit for dogs.

“As we do at our other locations, we plan to become involved with the community,” Ratner said. “We cannot wait to get involved with the school system and churches and become part of the community.”

“It is nice to know that you have built a reputation and that it proceeds you and you are welcomed in the communities,” he said.

New business openings have been rare in Ware in recent years.

Ratner announced plans to open his new store at a press conference at the site attended by members of the Board of Selectmen.


Posted in Articles, Retail on June 25, 2010 by Dave Ratner.

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