BANGOR, Maine — A Maine-owned pet products store is shutting its doors on Stillwater Avenue after 19 years in business because competition from national chains that set up shop on the same road proved to be too much, according to the store’s manager.
“We kept it going as long as we could,” said Dustin Poirier, store manager at Pet Quarters’ Bangor location.
Pet Quarters opened in 1994 in Bangor. The franchise got its start in 1993 on Payne Road in Scarborough. The company saw success and spread to six other Maine communities in addition to Bangor — Brunswick, Falmouth, Rockland, Scarborough, Waterville and Windham.
The company says only its Bangor branch is closing. Its last day is Dec. 1.
When Pet Quarters opened its Bangor store, its only nearby competition was animal feed seller Blue Seal, which also has stores in New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Years later, national franchise Petco arrived across the road. Farther down Stillwater Avenue, PetSmart, another national chain, established its Bangor location in 2012.
As Stillwater Avenue’s growth exploded in recent years, attracting franchises from Buffalo Wild Wings and Hobby Lobby to Sweet Frog and Five Guys, Pet Quarters struggled to hold its footing.
Poirier thanked the store’s loyal shoppers.
“Our customers, a lot of them liked the fact that we were Maine-based and like to shop local,” Poirier said, adding that some of the store’s loyal holdouts cried upon hearing the store would close its doors. “We will truly miss them.”
The store’s merchandise will be shipped to other Pet Quarters locations, according to Poirier. Many of the shelves are already bare, and employees are continuing to pack up trucks. The store’s stock of fish are all being sold or shipped to other locations, he said.
Pet Quarters has a collection of 40-gallon fish tanks that it is trying to get rid of, and is selling them off for $40 apiece, equipment included, according to Poirier.
The store also hosted veterinarian clinics twice a month, which featured low-cost immunizations, and also helped Bangor Humane Society ease crowding by adopting cats out of the store.
“A lot of great events for the local community will be gone,” Poirier said. “It’s hard to see it go.”