Community pet store to close

By Kassidy Christensen

February 21, 2017 12:00 AM

SAD FAREWELL M-R-Pets, a staple community pet store for 38 years, has chosen to close its doors and will be open until April 30. KASSIDY CHRISTENSEN LLS PHOTO

M-R Pet to shut after nearly 40 years in business in Lloyd

Local pet store M-R Pets has made the decision to close its doors after 38 years of business in the community.
M-R Pets owner and director Rick Dyck has owned the business for eight years, and noticed the industry has changed significantly in the last, three to four years.
“Specifically with box stores,” he said.
Dyck blamed his decline in sales to “predatory pricing” with competitors, and said he is at an total unfair market advantage.
“Unfortunately, people coming in to have their water tested when they bought their aquarium and everything else at (competing stores) doesn’t keep the lights on, and doesn’t help me buy inventory to sell (to) my customers, and it doesn’t earn me a livelihood,” Dyck said.
In order to stay afloat, Dyck explained he’s tried a number of things.
“I’ve been on Facebook a lot, we’ve tried Guerrilla Marketing (advertising strategies focusing on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics to yield max results); we’ve tried flyers in bags, we’ve tried offering discounts, we’ve tried even just word-of-mouth, trying to negotiate with customers who are coming in the door and, you know, explain to them we’ll match pricing.
“I simply cannot afford to spend a whole bunch of money on high priced advertising, I’d love to, but when the sales aren’t there to justify it, I can’t do it, it’s a Catch 22,” Dyck said.
At a loss of what to do to keep the business running, Dyck said, “If anyone could have told me ‘Hey Rick, here’s the answer, you do this,’ I would have done it ... totally.”
But Dyck found there was nothing like that.
“I don’t think there could be anything I could do in this climate with six competitors,” he said.
Dyck said he thought there were “a number of things at fault,” but stated he thinks the biggest aspect is the competition.
“And unfair competition, I don’t think that did us any good,” he said.
Ward Read, CEO of the Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), discussed the economic climate in Lloydminster with the Source and said, “We’re starting to see a bit more hiring activity going on,” but all sectors still haven’t recovered to where it was a few years back.”
Several factors have contributed to the economic downfall, and Read explained, “of course the single biggest is just the general level of economic activity stemming from, of course here in Lloydminster, the core energy sector.”
Another factor Read touched on included the level of competition and the size of the market.
“We haven’t seen the same growth in population that we have in past years,” he said.
“Over the last few we’ve seen sort of a flattening out that the census has shown.”
Despite the need to close the doors on M-R Pets, Dyck extends thanks to his customer base that has supported them through the years.
“I still have a loyal following of customers that have been coming in, and it’s quite remorseful,” he said.
“I’m going to be sad to let this go, but I really appreciate having them and having those relationships.”
Dyck also wanted to thank the business’ landlord for working through this process with them.
The appreciation for Dyck’s business was clearly voiced on Facebook with more than 150 comments being posted under the announcement of the store’s closing.
Comments included: “So very sorry to hear this. You will be greatly missed in our community. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours,” wrote Tammy Bell.
Shirley Thompson commented, “Thank you for owning and running a great store. Myself, my pups and corona bird will miss coming in to see you. Thank you.”
Until April 30, Dyck plans to slowly start advertising specials through Facebook to reduce inventory.
“Everything has got to go, assets, inventory, everything’s gotta go by Apr. 30,” Dyck said.
Dyck explained he feels a host of emotions surrounding the closure, some including being sad and bitter.
“This is my passion, I love doing this, and to watch your passion disappear and die right in front of you, I feel like I’m laying down in a coffin and slamming the lid on myself.
“I think it’s a whole bunch of other factors that have led to this,” Dyck said.
“Quite frankly, I think some of them are unfair factors, but that’s life and that’s business, and I have to move on.”

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