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Voices of the Valley: Dave Ratner of Dave’s Soda & Pet Food City

By: The Republican

With locations in Agawam, Springfield, Hadley, Northampton, Ware and Stafford Springs, CT., I opened the store in Ludlow at the beginning of April. Big Y is my landord and we are now in five of their shopping centers. It works out well for both of us. We are both interested in attracting shoppers to a location.

The bulk of our business is dog food. We sell our own brand of food for dogs and cats. If you have a 40-pound dog you need to buy a lot of dog food. We sell every brand, but we also sell our own brand.

In Agawam we also do pet adoptions on Saturdays run by Feline Friends Inc. If you adopt a pet we give you a $5 gift card per month for a year which you can use to help pay for food. The pet industry is growing for people with kids and without kids, but there is a lot of competition with other area businesses and with the Internet.

At the Agawam store, we do birthday parties for people with young kids. We take out our birds, hamsters and fish and the kids get to play with them. You just bring the cake. I only ask that you leave me a piece.

We also offer Do it Yourself Dog Washes. You pay us $12 to use our equipment instead of giving your dog a bath in your home and we clean up the mess.

I had three stores for years, and now I have seven stores. The pet industry keeps growing.

For my employees, working at Dave’s Soda & Pet Food City is a labor of love. They don’t make a lot of money, but they love animals.

I opened my first store in Hadley in 1975 and my second store in Agawam in 1976. I opened Carew Street, Springfield, in 1990. Ludlow will be a good location for us. If you don’t go to the Big Y Shopping Center you have to go all the way to Boston Road, Springfield, to buy food.

One way we have coped with the economy is by doing things to build customer loyalty such as the pet adoptions and gift cards, the birthday parties for children and the dog washes. If you want to bring your cat you can give your cat a bath too.

The pet industry is growing, but you have to be competitive with other businesses and the Internet.

Dave Ratner featured in MassLive
Article Featured in MassLive:


Posted in Articles, Pets, Retail on July 1, 2013 by Dave Ratner.

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