by Joshua Maloni
It will be a pet lover's dream come true July 2 when Grandpaws Pet Emporium moves into its new location at 402 Center St., in the Village of Lewiston. Owner Andrew Bell is renting the entire Fourth and Center streets property in order to expand his popular business, add more food, treat and toy lines, open a pet-friendly café, and adopt out cats to loving homes.
"We're moving the store into the end unit, which was the craft fair," owner Andrew Bell said Thursday. "We're going to add a canine café, which will be takeout snacks and treats for the dogs. People can bring their dog and have a little snack with them.
"We'll have a whole separate room with cat supplies and some cats available for adoption, and we will be reopening the café ice cream store. That will be 'Grandpaws Café for Good,' and we'll be using it as a fundraiser for local animal rescues and animal organizations."
Buffalo-based Ellicott Development purchased Grandpaws' current location, 784 Center St., in November 2012. Company CEO William Paladino presented plans to convert this space and acquired adjoining properties into retail, drug store and restaurant spaces.
That put Grandpaws in a precarious situation. Bell didn't know if or when he'd have to relocate his business.
Bell said this move, which he initiated, is a relief.
"The landlords have been very reasonable with us, but we couldn't really deal with the uncertainty of knowing what, exactly, was going in here," he said.
Ultimately, "The outside space at the new location suits (us better)," Bell said.
"We have lots of plans for the future for the outside space, so people need to keep watching that," he noted.
Grandpaws will partner with the SPCA and local animal rescues Heart of Niagara and Feline Friends.
"They're all organizations that do great work," Bell said. "We'll be working with them. We want to run regular, weekly adoption events in the outside space, where the rescues can come and showcase animals available for adoption."
Bell said two additional units will be available for rent.
"We'd like to see that whole corner come back to life again," he said. "We believe in the Lewiston community ... and we think that corner having more activity will be good for everybody."
"We will be subletting a couple of the spaces," Bell added. "All businesses that we're talking to, they're all locally owned. We believe strongly in local business rather than out-of-town investment."
Jennifer Pauly, president of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, said, "We are so excited about Grandpaws moving to Fourth and Center. It is our understanding that additional retail will also be moving into that building, and we can't wait to see the building busy with commerce.
"Fourth and Center is a prominent, busy corner in the village, and it is important to keep the retail there accessible, and a place where patrons feel welcome."
Entrepreneur and Edwin Mellen Press author/professor Herbert Richardson owns the property at Fourth and Center.
The Village Board has not approved any Ellicott Development plan, nor do trustees know when they'll hear from Paladino again.
Grandpaws is the second Ellicott tenant to pre-emptively move. The Country Doctor left 756 Center last winter. Co-op owners reopened at 549 Center in November.
Call 716-754-0100 or visit http://www.grandpawspet.com/ for more information on Grandpaws Pet Emporium.