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PETSTUFF ENTERS WASHINGTON MARKET ON SEPT. 18 WITH SPECTACULAR GRAND OPENING CELEBRATIONS

 WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Petstuff, a new and rapidly growing chain of pet superstores with a unique concept in pet care and supplies, will open the first two of its planned dozen Washington-area stores in the Northern Virginia area.
 Grand openings for the Chantilly and Manassas, Va., Petstuff stores will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18. Pets and people are both invited to join in the fun. The Manassas store is located at 10834 Sudley Manor Dr. and the Chantilly store is located at 13850 Metro Tech Dr. The company now operates 15 stores in the eastern United States following last year's successful debut in Atlanta and Baltimore.
 The new Petstuffs are superstores similar to Home Depot for home building and Staples for office supplies. Petstuff emphasizes variety, low prices, and service as it attempts to move the pet supply industry beyond its conservative past. "We believe pets should be treated with the same high caliber of customer service as people," commented George Moran, the manager of the Chantilly Petstuff. Petstuff stores occupy approximately 20,000 square feet of space and contain over 7,000 items as well as an enormous variety of premium and supermarket brand pet foods at substantial savings.
 Customers are encouraged to bring their pets with them to take advantage of this expansive arena of pet supplies and fun. "We want to make pets feel welcome in our stores so we create a fun and innovative atmosphere where they can socialize with other pets," added Manassas Petstuff Manager John Mullins. 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's gallery (available starting in October). 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?" The company hires individuals who have some experience with animals and then adds to their knowledge by having extensive mandatory training programs for employees. The Petstuff staff are cross-trained so their knowledge reaches beyond their own area of expertise.
 Petstuff will not sell dogs or cats, limiting pet sales to freshwater fish, domestically raised birds and small furry friends such as guinea pigs. Petstuff is working 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. This program will attempt to increase the number of adoptions. "Part of our `Four Paw Guarantee' is our pledge to help eliminate homelessness for pets through prevention, education and adoption," added Hixson.
 Seminars for the public will be held in the Petstuff theater at no charge. These seminars will include such topics as petcare and dog obedience. "We want to emphasize responsible pet ownership," asserted Jim Flanegan, president and CEO of Petstuff. "Well-informed and caring owners will be better customers."
 Store hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Chantilly store can be reached at 703-222-0992, and the Manassas store can be reached at 703-335-1755.
 -0- 9/10/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS:
 PETSTUFF STORY ANGLES
 -- Petstuff stores are among the largest pet stores in the nation. These 20,000 square-foot stores will be to the pet industry what Staples, Office Depot, Circuit City, and Bizmart are to their industries.
 -- Pets are welcome and encouraged to come and indulge themselves in the expansive arena of pet fun and supplies.
 -- Petstuff sells no dogs or cats. The company encourages adoption of dogs and cats from humane societies and SPCA's through joint programs.
 -- Petstuff stores only hire employees who own pets. The first question on the employment application is "What is the name of your pet?" All employees also receive significant training in pet care, nutrition, etc.
 -- 500 people are anticipated to be employed by Petstuff in the Washington area when all stores are open.
 -- Each Petstuff store will stock more than 7,000 items, the largest selection in the United States.
 -- Petstuff will offer dog grooming, and a theater in which animal care tips and occasional shows will be offered.
 -- A professional photographer will be on hand so that proud pet owners can have their furry, feathered, or even scaly friends photographed. These photographs can be mounted on mugs, t-shirts, etc.
 -- Petstuff was started with $11 million in capital. Senior officers have significant "super store" experience.
 -- The environment is considered in every aspect of Petstuff's operation. Petstuff uses materials that are recyclable. They do not sell salt water fish because of the dangers involved in catching them. They only sell domestic birds because of the harm that is caused to birds that are imported./
 /CONTACT: Kirstie D. Durr for Petstuff, 410-356-8822/


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

IH-KD -- DC001 -- 0644 09/10/93 09:32 EDT
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Date:Sep 10, 1993
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