Farragut will soon have a new pet store.
Kevin and Ricki René Human, franchise owners, are planning to open Ricki’s PET DEPOT in April at 11505 Kingston Pike in Village Green shopping center, as a family venture. Their children, Carlie 16, and Bryson, 9, also will help in the store.
“We’re hoping [to open] the first or second week of April. It’s a little dependent still on getting all of our funding situated right,” Kevin said.
Ricki’s PET DEPOT, a locally owned and operated full retail store, will carry dog and cat food brands such as Blue, Royal Canine, Science Diet, Taste of the Wild; pet supplies; full grooming services and animals to adopt, many from area breeders but also others from animal shelters.
Besides cats and dogs, there will be fish, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and some reptiles.
Tubs will be available where customers can groom their own dogs. Kevin Human will be working with a traveling mobile clinic to offer vaccines, he said.
Kevin Human also said he and his wife had been looking for an opportunity to open their own business for a long time. René Human had been at Denso for 18 years, and most recently, he was retail manager for Tractor Supply.
“It was just one of those things, where I was working 60 to 70 hours a week, making a dime every time the store made a dollar,” he said.
Kevin Human decided if he were going to work that long and that hard, he would like to do more for his family. “So we started looking for options and found PET DEPOT,” he said. “It’s not a large franchise. We are about 50 stores across the United States.”
There is one other PET DEPOT in Tennessee, which is Misty’s PET DEPOT off Washington Pike near Knoxville Center, he said. It has been there since 2009.
The Humans chose to open a business in Farragut because
it was close to Lenoir City, the
market to which Kevin Human was
“I felt more comfortable doing something around that market because by managing the store at Tractor Supply, I kind of got to know the market, so I felt more comfortable operating at a retail standpoint knowing my market,” Kevin Human said.
However, there were not a lot of available spaces in Lenoir City, so they branched out.
“We thought we would have to come toward Knoxville and we found this [location],” he said. “This [site] is only seven miles from where my Tractor Supply store was in Lenoir City. It’s close to being in the same market.”
The Humans chose to open a pet store because of the clientele it brings. “Pet owners tend to be just different type of people,” Kevin Human said. “Very seldom do you see a pet owner that’s not nice. People who love their animals and treat their animals well usually treat other people well. So, we just saw an opportunity to be involved with people we enjoy being around.
“We thought of just having a local place for people to come,” he said. “We want to be that place where we know our customers’ pets.”
While there two “big box” pet stores nearby, Kevin said by having a smaller franchise, he can offer services a larger store cannot offer.
“I know what the big boxes can do,” he said. “There is so much red tape when you’re a national retailer and a big box-type store, and there’s lots of things they can’t do.”
For example, he said a larger store is “handcuffed” regarding payroll because the stores have to abide by corporate rules.
“I don’t have rules to abide by but my own,” he said. “So, if we’re in a season where we feel we need more staff to make sure my customers are taken care of, then we bring on more staff.”
Kevin said he hopes to be able to do some things the larger stores cannot do, such as offering delivery service possibly a couple times a month to customers who cannot get out.
Also, there are pet foods companies that only will sell their products to locally owned and operated stores, he said.
“So, we will have some feed options you can’t get at those other stores,” Kevin said.
The store’s hours will be from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and it will be closed Sundays.