PetSmart opened March 24 with around 380 people lined up waiting for the chance to enter the noted business that is a new addition to the Westside Marketplace in Phelps County, where the popularity of the store resulted in more jobs added to the economy than expected.

When the store first opened 21 jobs were filled, and “because of the amount of traffic we had in the store we have actually had to increase the number of jobs to 31,” said store leader of PetSmart, Chris Garner.

Creating more jobs strengthens the economy and can bring prosperity to smaller cities, according to professor and chair of the economics department at Missouri University of Science and Technology, Gregory Gelles.

“Definitely this is a good thing for us; I think it will create more jobs, and it may even create higher wages for people who will be working in these businesses,” said Gelles. “Generally a lot of time the employees aren’t the highest paid, it will bring their highest pay up with competitive labor."

The 18,000 sq. ft. store has the latest designs with wider aisles and more lighting, stated president of Investment Realty, Inc., Mike Woessner, who added, “If you have ever been in a PetSmart before, this store really has a much better feel inside.”

The goal of the privately owned company is to educate pet parents or people looking to care for an animal on topics such as pet nutrition along with spaying and neutering.

“People think PetSmart is out there for the next dollar, but the actual goal of PetSmart is the education of pet parents and to help the community take care of their pets so they live a more fulfilled life,” said Garner.

For this reason, the PetSmart has seven adoption partners they are already working with in Phelps County, and are looking at bringing an event into the store to get low cost shots for pet parents that can’t afford to get shots, and the company plans to be working with local spay and neuter clinics for low cost spaying and neutering at the new location, stated Garner.

“We are here so that pets are taken care of, pet parents are taken care of, with the mission of truly benefiting the community; that is the goal,” said Garner.