Mayor Mike Duggan joined Premier Pet Supply, a Michigan-based full-service pet supply store, for its grand opening Friday in downtown Detroit.
Premier Pet Supply was founded in Beverly Hills and has 12 stores across Metro Detroit. The downtown Detroit location is on the ground floor of City Club Apartments CBD Detroit at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Park Avenue.
"I had to come by today to see a pet store in downtown for people who live here," Duggan said. "It's just a sign of the progress that we're making as a city, we're going to build a lot more housing and I think this pet store is going to do very well."
Michael Palmer, the pet store's CEO, toured Duggan around the 3,000 square foot store that faces Grand Circus Park. They were joined by shoppers, local residents, and the pet store's co-owners Brandon Thorne and Jeff Nagarah.
"As far as I'm concerned this is a special day; in real cities, downtown is a neighborhood and it never has been in the city of Detroit," Duggan said. "I know downtown is a neighborhood when it has its own pet store."
Putting the pet store in downtown Detroit was the vision of Jonathan Holtzman, CEO of City Club Apartments. He is a long-time customer of Premier Pet Supply and approached Palmer seven years ago to tell him about a property in Detroit’s central business district where he was going to be building a mixed-use apartment and penthouse community.
The new mixed-use luxury apartment community includes 288 apartments and penthouses, Premier Pet Supply, Joe Vicari’s French Bistro, The Statler and two levels of underground parking.
"He came to me and said, 'I'm building a building in Detroit and you're going to be in it' and I didn't even have store No. 2 at the time," Palmer said.
"It was the very first apartment built (from scratch) and improved after I got elected and it took a little while to get done," Duggan said. "The history of this site is pretty significant."
Decades ago, the site was home to the 18-floor, 800-room Statler Hotel. The historic hotel, built in 1915, hosted business, sports, arts and entertainment and political guests for six decades. Duggan believes Holtzman's vision to rebuild apartments on the downtown site has spurred housing development throughout downtown and midtown.
"Now, it's spurring the opening of stores, this is what a vibrant neighborhood looks like," Duggan said.
The store has lines of national product and carries brands from Michigan-based companies. It has a special focus on customers in smaller living environments and the urban pet, as City Club Apartments is known for being pet-friendly.
Premier Pet Supply's products can serve fish and other small animals to cats and dogs with a broad selection of food, supplements, pet care items and toys.
"I think it's convenient, it's really close to where I live at, and they have a lot of variety, which I like," said Sabrina Minus, 26, who lives in downtown Detroit and visited the the pet store Friday with her 13-week old puppy, Marley. Before this store opened, Minus shopped at a Petco that is a 20-minute drive away.
"There's been very few options for people down here, so they've been forced to shop online even though they don't want to do that. It seems like the people who live down here really want to support local," Palmer said. "I've had numerous people say 'I no longer have to shop online,' which is music to my ears."
"It's super important to us that we give everyone that lives downtown the amenities that they find in the suburbs so they have every reason to stay here and not have to drive 30 minutes to get the things that they need," Palmer said. "We're excited and we plan on being here for a very long time."