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MARTIN'S UNLEASHES PET-SPECIALTY UNIT WITH PETCO LICENSE

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Martin's Super Markets here has opened a 1,700-square-foot pet-specialty outlet under the Paw Mart name at its Elkhart, Ind., store.The name is being licensed from Martin's supplier, Petco Marketing, Griffith, Ind. Petco operates one other Paw Mart, which was opened in 1995 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Last year it was moved to a 2,400-square-foot location near a Kroger store. "It's doing

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Martin's Super Markets here has opened a 1,700-square-foot pet-specialty outlet under the Paw Mart name at its Elkhart, Ind., store.

The name is being licensed from Martin's supplier, Petco Marketing, Griffith, Ind. Petco operates one other Paw Mart, which was opened in 1995 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Last year it was moved to a 2,400-square-foot location near a Kroger store. "It's doing well," said Steve Wahl, Petco's president.

Martin's runs Paw Mart, which opened in February, as a separate store. Entrances are located in Martin's front lobby and inside the supermarket. The space that Paw Mart occupies was a video-rental department. Video was moved to an in-line department.

"We intend Paw Mart to increase our pet care sales by attracting a whole new group of customers from regular pet stores," said Ken Luzney, Martin's nonfood director.

Paw Mart carries more than 2,000 pet supplies and features several superpremium food brands sold on an exclusive basis. These include Iam's, Eukanuba, Nutro, Nature's Recipe and Brand Breed Specific. Wahl noted that such brands are usually sold at specialty pet shops and not at supermarkets.

Pet foods are arranged along two perimeter walls on pallet racking, with 24 feet of space devoted to cat food and 40 feet to dog food.

A large assortment of pet accessories is displayed on five 60-inch-high gondolas. Leashes, collars and other supplies are shown on a slat wall. Price points start out at 69 cents for dog pig-ear chew bones and go up to $200 for deluxe kitty condos.

Martin's promotes Paw Mart through its 10,000-member Pet Club that was formed two years ago.

Signs inside Paw Mart alert shoppers they can also earn frequent-shopper club points on Paw Mart purchases, as well as on sales from Martin's regular pet-supply sets.

The Pet Club "is a well-established promotion for our pet department, providing savings and discounts to our pet-owner customers," said Luzney.

The chain's regular pet-supply sets run about 16 feet, with additional pet accessories merchandised on the top shelf of the 60-foot-long pet-food gondola in the pet aisle.

Paw Mart is open during Martin's regular store hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.