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PHOTOS: Local family-owned pet store survives during COVID-19 pandemic

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SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Adoption centers have been booming with sales since the pandemic, while other pet-friendly retail stores have struggled financially to keep their business open.

22News spoke with the owner of The Russell’s Tropical Fish and Pet Store Mary Russell who expressed her tough experience losing a chunk of revenue since the beginning of March.

“Looking at our records, we were down at least 50 percent initially, right after that big push to supply to stock up. We still have yet to meet the same numbers that we were at prior to the advisory from the governor,” Russell said.

The halt of oversea shipping of saltwater fish definitely had a negative impact on sales due to them not being able to restock.

A current issue the store is facing due to the pandemic is the loss of sales from customers who are shopping online which is found to be more convenient for those avoiding public places. An innovative idea the owner came up with to get customers through the door is expanding their saltwater fish and coral options. The company has also turned to social media to attract their customer’s attention.

(Store expansion where new saltwater fish and coral options will be)

Ben Norton, a sales associate at the pet store told 22News “we are still selling community fish that are helping because we are able to sell more of those at a lower price than the more premium high-end fish that are either harder to come by or more expensive.”

Because the store is small, social distancing and practicing other safety protocols are easily followed so customers don’t have to worry too much. Upon entering the store, customers are asked if they need any help in efforts to expedite their shopping.

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