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Pet stores have changed over the last 30 years. Here’s what hasn’t

Michelle Martin
for Premier Pet Supply
Partners, Brandon Thorne, Mike Palmer, Steve Shamou and Jeff Nagarah

When it comes to shopping, a lot has changed over the last 30 years. Consumers now can compare items online without leaving their homes. And they can buy anything they want — at any time, from almost anywhere.

But at Premier Pet Supply, a lot hasn’t changed — including the relationships the store has created and built over the last 30 years.

While Premier Pet Supply offers online shopping, it remains fully invested in the community, focused on serving customers and supporting local organizations.

Premier Pet Supply has 12 stores throughout metro Detroit, and one more is expected to open this year in Brighton.

“There are so many options online where people can sit at home and shop,” said Mike Palmer, owner of Premier Pet Supply. “Our customers choose to avoid all of that and make a trip specifically to walk into our doors, and we are so incredibly appreciative for that.”

Premier Pet Supply is committed to supporting the local economy. It sells products from more than 25 Michigan companies — more than any of the big-box stores in the area.

Premier Pet Supply is committed to supporting the local economy. It sells products from more than 25 Michigan companies — more than any of the big-box stores in the area.

“We do our best to make sure that we’re supporting the local economy by employing people locally and using distributors that are local, buying from manufacturers and supporting Michigan-owned companies,” Palmer said. “That’s what it is about — the communities we are in.”

During the 30 years that Premier Pet Supply has been in business, it has become a part of the community. Customers recognize Premier Pet Supply employees as experts who know pets and their needs. 

“Customers feel confident in the purchase they are making for their pet,” Palmer said. “We put time not only into selecting those products but also into knowing about the products that we sell and being able to explain and educate people. We have conversations regarding their pets and help them through issues and problems.”

When Premier Pet Supply opened in 1992, there weren’t as many pet food or supplies options. The company’s founder, Palmer’s uncle Ray Hesano, who had a background in grocery stores, recognized the need.

“It was a clean, well-lit, fully stocked store, which we still maintain to this day,” Palmer said. “It’s really, truly about establishing and creating relationships. We don’t believe in customers coming in and spending as much money as they possibly can. We try to find solutions for them to save money.”

The original store is located in Beverly Hills in an area with a wide range of income demographics — something that early on has driven the supplies that the stores carry.

“I recognized very early on that we had to appeal to people from all different types of income levels,” Palmer said. “This is why we have economical brands that are good-quality brands for people who are more price-conscientious. We also have items that people would find in a boutique store. We cater to everyone because, for us, it’s about our communities and their pets.”

Palmer and his team visit trade shows throughout the country to find the best products — including innovative and cutting-edge items that customers can’t find anywhere else.

The store’s selection is unmatched, he said.

Palmer and his team visit trade shows throughout the country to find the best products — including innovative and cutting-edge items that customers can’t find anywhere else.

Every July, Premier Pet Supply hosts a customer appreciation event, offering 20% off the entire store. This year’s event will be extra special because Premier Pet Supply is bringing back its Barkin’ Lot Party at its Beverly Hills location.

The event, which runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, July 31, will have goodie bags, food and entertainment.

“I’m so humbled at the fact that we have been able to maintain our business for so long and have the success that we’ve had,” Palmer said. “I am so appreciative that we’ve had so many people be so loyal to us for so long, and we honestly couldn’t have been in business for 30 years without their support. We love reciprocating that support and giving back to our communities.”

Looking back and looking ahead, Palmer has always known where his company is headed.

“The most important thing that I’ve learned is to never lose sight of the little things that got you where you are,” he said. “I’m always consistent, making sure that I’m paying attention to the little details because we never want to become complacent. We can always be better and find ways to elevate our service to a higher level.”

To shop locally at Premier Pet Supply and find store locations, visit premierpetsupply.com.

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