A Farmington family has picked up the torch for local pet lovers, after corporate-owned Pet Valu closed its doors in the Downtown Farmington Center.
Mom Angela Tolonen said there’s no firm opening date for Tolonen Family Pet Shop, but the business Facebook page already has 500 followers. Customers are also using the self-service dog wash stations Pet Valu left behind.
“We are grateful and overwhelmed with the response we’ve gotten,” Angela said.
The decision to jump into the business came after Angela shifted to working at home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As customers, the family was disappointed – but also intrigued – when Pet Valu closed.
“Pets have always been a hobby for us. We’ve had so many critters,” she said. “My work is pretty demanding, and I was looking for some kind of business we could enjoy together as a family.”
The Tolonens oldest child, 21-year-old Allie, had also been “looking for something to sink her teeth into,” Angela said.
The family discovered that Pet Valu’s closure was a corporate decision and not due to a lack of success. During several family meetings, all three Tolonen daughters committed to the business, with Allie taking the lead. In addition to managing the shop, she is learning how to groom pets.
“It’s a big commitment,” Angela said. “Allie has definitely not disappointed us. She has been here every day.”
Through an online survey, the Tolonens learned that some felt “priced out” of Pet Valu. They plan to carry items at a range of price points and urge customers to share their preferences.
Plans are in the works for a grand opening celebration, as soon as the end of April. To keep up with the store’s progress, follow along at facebook.com/Tolonen-Family-Pet-Shop-112200957617432