A petition that began this summer to open a PetSmart store in town has received more than 1,200 signatures and has caught the attention of PetSmart management in Chesterfield, according to the petition organizer.
The petition for the PetSmart store, which was created on Change.org in July and shared on social media, had 1,234 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
Steve Smelcer, of Prospect, created the petition. Smelcer, who works as a fundraising specialist at Southside Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said he had seen the need for the store in the area, particularly for families who own pets.
“This is a pet-friendly community,” Smelcer said.
He said having an in-town store would give pet owners additional shopping options and prevent a drive to Richmond or Lynchburg.
Smelcer noted that Farmville would not be the only locality that would benefit from the store.
“It wouldn’t just be benefiting Farmville,” Smelcer said. “It would benefit Prospect, Cumberland. There is a great need for it here.”
Smelcer said the Southside SPCA works with a PetSmart store in the Chesterfield Marketplace where the store hosts adoption events every Saturday and has donated dog toys, dog food and general pet items to the Southside SPCA.
Smelcer said he received a Facebook message from a PetSmart manager in Chesterfield County, who said the petition had potentially gotten the attention of members of the PetSmart company corporate office.
Smelcer said he had not received responses from corporate employees of PetSmart or from the Farmville Town Manager concerning the petition.
Town Manager Gerry Spates said he had not heard of the social media petition and that no one has approached the council about a potential PetSmart store. He noted that stores similar to PetSmart tend to appear in areas with larger populations.
“We welcome any business in the town, but most of these stores come to areas with population, with more than 75,000,” Spates said.
“It would be nice to have one, but I am not sure they would come here,” Spates said.
Smelcer said the store could be an asset to the community.
“It would be a win-win for all involved,” Smelcer said. “We definitely have the community to support a PetSmart here.”