Burton's Total Pet closes in Monroeville; internet competition too great for local chain
Burton's Total Pet in Monroeville closed for good last week — the second store in a month to be shuttered by the Pittsburgh pet supplies and services chain.
Burton Patrick, who opened his first store in 1993, said he cannot keep up with larger pet stores and online competition.
“The problem is people are changing their buying habits,” he said. “People need to understand that if they want a brick-and-mortar store left that knows something about pets, they need to support the brick-and-mortar stores.”
He referenced competitive pressures from sites like Chewy.com, a Florida company that ships pet supplies, often without a shipping fee.
“How do you think I can compete with that? People have made their decision. They want to use the easy way, assume they don't need any help with pet care,” Patrick said.
Patrick, who has a bachelor's degree in zoology and a work history that includes being director of operations at the Detroit Zoo, explores the advent of internet sales and how it has affected the pet supplies industry in a blog he writes for his company's website: bit.ly/1Oy6Bss.
Patrick said most of the supplies from his Monroeville store were sold during a three-week sale prior to the closing and the rest was distributed throughout the four remaining stores in Irwin, Greensburg, Cranberry and North Hills. The employees in Monroeville and the Bridgeville store that closed earlier were offered positions at those stores, Patrick said. The company has about 40 workers.
“We've had 25 really good years — a lot of loyal people,” Patrick said. “We've done our best. We'll stay open where we are still profitable.”