Pet society

Benson’s Pet Center opens new location in Saratoga Springs, hopes to win back customers lost to online stores

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Benson’s Pet Center has opened a new location at 175 Ballston Avenue.

The chain of pet stores quietly opened the doors to its eighth store in December before fully welcoming customers in January.

The only two differences between the Ballston Avenue location and other Benson stores are that this one does not have a fish shop or livestock. It does, however, have a dog laundry room available to guests with bathing supplies for $15.

Moira Nowc, the chain’s general manager, said the company had been looking for expansion for some time. When the opportunity arose to serve Saratoga’s West Side and potentially recoup lost customers to online stores, such as Chewy and Amazon, they jumped on it.

Nowc was unable to say how many customers the company had lost to e-commerce vendors, but said she could see customers changing their minds now that another Benson site has opened locally. .

“Since this new store opened, it’s been very common for multiple customers to come in and say ‘you’re just so you’re in the perfect location’. Now I’m going to stop buying from Chewy, I’m going to stop buying from Amazon,” she said.

The location of the new store was also helpful in bringing back lost customers. Being located in a plaza with a Price Chopper, people shopping ended up at Benson’s.

Benson locations also offer curbside pickup and same-day delivery, which Nowc said customers often don’t realize.

Still, Nowc explained that some customers said Benson’s prices were too expensive compared to big-box stores like Target.

Nowc said she felt like Benson’s was absolutely in the shadow of the bigger pet retailers and their buying power, but it was more about being a household name, becoming the Stewart’s Shops of pet retail.

Benson’s also operates pet centers in Colonie, Clifton Park, Wilton, Queensbury, Johnstown and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as well as a fish shop in Ballston Spa.

Nowc pointed out that Target cannot provide the experience and knowledge that its colleagues at Benson can provide, nor the personal touch that comes with employees knowing your pet’s name and what they need. For Benson’s, it’s all about local and personal impact, which is why it strives to give back to community organizations.

“The money you spend at a local independent store stays in your community,” she said. “From landlords to landlords, everyone lives here (and) participates in this community.”

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