‘Community vision’ leads to opening of pet, grooming store

IMG_8611web
Pet City Pets is at 2000 Eureka, east of Fort, in Wyandotte.

IMG_8616web
Pet groomer Celeste Wizinsky settles down Brownie, a Yorkshire terrier, during his grooming.

IMG_8620web
Stacy Piette (left), with a guinea pig, and James Weiss and Annette Collins, each with a bearded dragon, enjoy the store’s smaller pets.

IMG_8623web
Annette Collins, wife of Pet City Pets owner Stu Collins, handles a bearded dragon.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – One of the city’s newest business owners was impressed with its downtown after discovering it during a visit a few years ago.

“It seemed like it has a plan, a community, a vision,” Stu Collins says.
“People care.”

He recalled that favorable impression after spotting a pet grooming business on Eureka Road for sale online last year, which resulted in his decision to open a second location to complement his Pet City Pets store in Ypsilanti.

Collins bought the equipment and cages of a Belleville competitor that went out of business during last year’s economic meltdown and put them in storage. He then improved the look of his original store, which opened in April 1988.

Deciding the Eureka location was too big for a grooming business alone, Collins put up a dividing wall, kept the grooming business on one side and opened a smaller version of his original store on the other.

He hired Bev Anderson, one of the Wyandotte location’s previous groomers, and expanded business hours. The pet area then was plumbed to accommodate fish tanks.

The result is Pet City Pets, 2000 Eureka, east of Fort Street, Wyandotte’s only pet store. Collins likes to have puppies on hand for potential customers, and sells a lot of crickets as amphibian pet food.

The store’s stock of bearded dragons — an Australian reptile that constitutes its most unusual offering — is all captive bred. Employee James Weiss specializes in reptiles and fish and looks after the stock.

“We’re pretty knowledgeable, and we care,” Collins says. “Our prices are good, too. We are genuine pet lovers.”

Main groomers Anderson and Midge Shelton are pet care veterans with 18 and 15 years of experience, respectively.

Celeste Wizinsky, another groomer who busily calmed a skittish Yorkshire terrier named Brownie during a recent visit, has removed skunk odor from animals. She also has applied flea shampoos and groomed bunnies and guinea pigs, in addition to the usual dogs and cats. She once groomed a young child’s turtle, washing its shell and cutting its toenails.

Every third Monday, a visiting veterinarian offers low-cost pet vaccinations.

Collins grew up observing his father’s fast food franchises and graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in natural history. He combined his love of animals with the business savvy he learned.

“In the pet business you’re selling love,” Collins explains. “If you don’t love pets, you shouldn’t be in this business.”

He loves his puppies enough to indulge their basic instinct for relief from being man’s best friend by letting them around the store when it’s closed.

“There is no other animal that loves you more than itself,” Collins says.

He also believes animal ownership is a great thing for children.

“It teaches them to go beyond themselves,” Collins says, “and to care for something that doesn’t benefit them directly.”

Pet City Pets in Wyandotte is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call (734) 281-3800.

Grooming shop appointments can be scheduled by telephone at (734) 281-4542.

For more information go to www.PetCityPets.com.

Tags: