Pet store returns to Millville, offering more for pets

House Pets in Millville has reopened in a big way. After a brief hiatus, the pet store has returned to Creek Side Plaza, along Route 26 — this time, expanding from their previous 2,400-square-foot establishment to 6,000 square feet. And, more room means more focus on local pet owners and their four-, two- and no-legged friends.

Almost every household pet is catered to and represented, including dogs, cats and birds, though the store itself sells a variety of freshwater and pond fish, small reptiles and even a few furry critters.

“It’s a really big store,” said owner Kim Ciavolella. “There’s plenty of room, and it gives us lots of options. We’re getting orders in all the time, so [the store] is filling up.” Deliveries come in all week, bringing in all sorts of pet supplies, from food, cages, leashes and beds to brushes, shampoo and pooper-scoopers.

An assortment of chew toys — squeaky, fluffy and bouncy — lines the aisles. Aquariums and terrariums of varying sizes can also be found at House Pets, as well as everything a pet lover would want to put inside. Among some of the popular picks in the shop are the handbag carrying cases designed for petite pets, and tasty treats for Fido that resemble home-baked cookies. Ciavolella said her shop carries all major brands of food, as well as some lesser-known names.

“This place is truly a store for the pets,” said Ciavolella. “The owners just bring them and pay.” Pets are even welcome to stop in the store. “It’s all about them when they’re here.”

Even though the location has undergone a major change, Ciavolella and her employees are no strangers to working with animals. She ran House Pets eight years ago, in the same shopping center, before her husband, a mid-Atlantic sales rep, was transferred. Obliged to take four years off from running the shop, she said she couldn’t wait to get back.

“I’ve been doing this for a while,” Ciavolella said, “and I really enjoy it. I just love animals.”

Now situated with extra floor space, she hopes to bring a variety of new products and services to House Pets with some assistance from others. Her daughter, Jamie, often helps around the store, and keeps an eye on the little guys.

Cheryl Loveland, who has been with House Pets since its previous location, also runs The Country Groomer at Bed & Biscuit Kennels in Roxanna. When not occupied with canines at the kennel, she devotes her knowledge and time sorting inventory at House Pets.

“I love working with animals,” Loveland said, “and we’re very excited about the new place.” Ciavolella said she hopes to soon offer a grooming service at House Pets, and possibly carry a variety of birds in the future.

“Everywhere I go, I love walking into pet stores,” said Loveland. “From the first time I walked into [House Pets] it was neat and tidy and very well-kept.”

Even the pungent odor found at some pet stores is absent from House Pets. “We do everything we can to keep the odor down,” said Ciavolella. “Cages are cleaned on a daily basis, and they’re all very well-taken care of.”

The clientele walking through the doors of House Pets ranges from the year-round pet lover to the vacationing visitor.

“[Summer-goers] come in because they might need to pick up some food, or they may have left something at home.” said Ciavolella. “We have a lot of loyal locals, too. We’ve met so many great people in the area who love animals.

“Business is typically steady year-round,” she added.

And Ciavolella and her staff often fulfill requests and special orders. “We want the best for people and their pets,” she said.

Despite the revamped House Pets being located just down the road from a new pet store staple in Millville, Ciavolella said she isn’t worried about business, and does not even consider the situation one of competition.

“It’s more of a complimenting thing,” she noted. “We’ll have some things that they won’t and they’ll have things that we don’t. There are several grocery stores all in the same town. Why not cater to pets, too?”

House Pets is located in Millville, in the Creek Side Plaza shopping center, beside Food Lion and behind the Beebe Medical Center’s emergency center. For more information, stop in, or call House Pets at (302) 537-7695.