Don’t expect Jerry Repasy to lie down and play dead anytime soon.

The owner of Danville Pet World for 32 years, Repasy said his store is ready to compete with the new pets supply chain store opening Aug. 1 at Village Mall.

“It was kind of a shock when I first read about it,” he said. “But I don’t plan on closing or going anywhere.”

In fact, Repasy has been working to add services, including expanded online purchasing, to help increase his volume in the face of the new store’s opening, just a mile down the street.

“I’ve decided to do online selling in a big way,” he said. “Other than that, we’re going to keep doing business as usual and keep providing 115 percent customer satisfaction.”

Repasy is reminding customers not only of the above-average service they’ve received for three decades, but the fact profit he makes stays in Danville in ways that aren’t even seen.

“We have a lot of loyalty to Danville and all of the money spent here stays in Danville,” he said. “It doesn’t go to some out-of-town owner who spends it somewhere else. Everything stays here.”

Repasy understands retail competition. He started the store in 1976 to make a business out of his love for exotic fish, expanding to hobbies and other pet supplies in the subsequent years before moving to the current storefront at 3700 N. Vermilion.

“I don’t want to come off sounding like I have sour grapes or I’m bitter (because of the new store’s opening),” Repasy said, but he indicated the new store’s owners had been “pretty aggressive” upon their arrival.

He claims owner representatives had come to his store on several occasions, expressing interest in buying out his store’s inventory and handing out business cards to employees asking them to apply for the new positions at the mall store.

“I don’t think that was nice or ethical,” he said, adding two of his long-time employees were in fact hired at the new store. He said he talked a third into staying on, despite his inability to match the employee benefits of a larger company.

“One of them worked for me for eight years,” he said. “The employees here are worried. I’ve always looked at Pet World as ‘our store.’”

A subsequent investigation at one of the chain’s stores led Repasy to believe he can continue to compete in pricing, though he admits the pet supplies market in Danville can only handle so much inventory.

“They’re claiming to be a discount store, but their prices are not out of line of what we have at all,” he said. “Some things were lower, some things were higher. Maybe I’m a discount store and just didn’t know it.” He added he will also continue to search bulk-purchasing options to keep prices as low as he can.

He said also hopes customers realize they will get his ample experience and expertise from so many years working with local animals and their owners.

“I care about Danville and I care about my employees,” he said. “I appreciate all of the business and loyalty of my customers and we’re going to very hard work to keep them.”

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