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PETSTUFF PET SUPPLY SUPERSTORES TO ENTER WASHINGTON METRO MARKET THIS SUMMER

 ROSWELL, Ga., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Petstuff, a rapidly growing chain of pet "superstores" with a unique concept in pet care and supplies, will be opening its first stores in the Washington area early this summer. A minimum of seven stores will open in 1993 with plans for at least three additional stores in 1994 for a total of no less than 10 in the D.C. metro area.
 Each store will occupy up to 20,000 square feet of space and carry more than 7,000 items as well as an enormous variety of premium and supermarket brand pet foods at substantial savings. Each store will employ an average of 50 people while the Petstuff chain will ultimately employ 500 in the D.C. market alone.
 The first D.C. stores scheduled to open are as follows: White Flint Plaza in Rockville, Md.; Fairfax Circle Plaza in Fairfax, Va.; Festival at Bull Run in Manassas, Va.; and Sully Place Shopping Center in Chantilly, Va. An additional store will open in Greenbelt, Md., and other locations to be announced shortly.
 The Petstuff chain opened its first six stores in 1992 in Baltimore and Atlanta, where sales thus far are well beyond expectations and forecasts. The fast-growing chain has since opened stores in several other East Coast markets, although its greatest concentration of stores in a single market is currently planned for the Washington area.
 Following the successful examples of Home Depot, Staples Office Supply and others, Petstuff is to the pet industry what these stores are to their fields. Petstuff emphasizes variety, low prices and service as it attempts to move the pet supply industry beyond its relatively conservative past.
 The Washington area was selected because of its demographics, both human and animal. Approximately 46 percent of Washingtonians own pets, a much higher percentage than the average nationwide.
 "Pet Funding Corporation is fortunate," said Jim Flanegan, president and CEO, "to have attracted a well-capitalized, experienced retail investor group with a successful track record in the category-dominant arena." The investor group which has already committed $11 million to Petstuff includes: Austin Ventures, Consumer Venture Partners, Capital Southwest, Marquette Ventures Partners and St. Paul Venture Capital. Petstuff ultimately plans to have scores of additional stores nationwide. Key senior management personnel all have extensive experience in the "category-dominant" area of retailing and have held senior posts at such chains as Bizmart, K-Mart, Office Depot, U.S. Shoe and others.
 Customers are encouraged to bring their pets with them when shopping Petstuff stores, in order to take proper advantage of the expansive arena of pet supplies and fun. Pets can come and choose their own food and toys and might even be enticed to have their hair styled or their nails clipped. For the working pet parents, pets may be dropped off as early as 7 a.m. to be groomed and picked up at the end of the day at no additional charge beyond grooming. The proud parents may even wish to have their pets' photograph taken by a professional photographer in the


store theater. Petstuff is also offering curbside or "bag-boy" service for large, heavy purchases. All this can be done at the customers' convenience at each store location.
 To be sure all Petstuff employees are pet lovers themselves, the first question on each employment application is, "What is your pet's name?" If this question is left blank, the applicant is not hired. The company hires individuals who have some experience with animals and then adds to their knowledge by having mandatory training programs every weekend for employees. The Petstuff staff will be cross-trained so their knowledge reaches beyond their own area of expertise.
 Petstuff will not sell dogs or cats, limiting pet sales to fish, domestically raised birds and small furry friends such as guinea pigs. Petstuff works in cooperation with SPCAs and Humane Societies to promote pet adoption. "There is no need to breed more dogs and cats when there are already plenty that need homes," said Carol Hixson, director of marketing for Petstuff. Petstuff plans to organize a program called "Pet of the Week" where "pets without parents" will have a chance to meet potential loving pet parents.
 "We want to emphasize responsible pet ownership," asserted Flanegan. "Well-informed and caring owners will be better customers."
 -0- 4/28/93
 /NOTE: Interviews are available with the Petstuff president and other senior level management personnel, as well as Petstuff spokesman David Nevins by calling the contact below./
 /CONTACT: David Nevins for Petstuff, 410-356-8822/


CO: Petstuff ST: Georgia, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia IN: REA SU:

MH-DC -- DC005 -- 1844 04/28/93 09:35 EDT
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Date:Apr 28, 1993
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