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HAMMONTON - Pets and finding a bargain were welcome with open arms as Pet Valu celebrated its grand opening in Hammonton on Saturday.

“It’s a small community and we really like to get into areas where there is no pet store,” said Pet Valu marketing coordinator Jen Muniz.

She said she was excited that the new store would be providing high-quality items that the town’s residents may not be able to find in their average grocery store.

“We offer a variety of holistic and grain-free products,” said Muniz.

Pet Valu is all about providing the best food and services possible for pets, so much so that its employees are trained through the University of California Davis Extension School in nutrition and pet care. While Pet Valu employees do not replace veterinarians, they can help guide customers in finding the best possible options for their pets.

Chrissy Poley, one of the store’s employees, said she thought it is one of the best jobs she has ever had.

“I really love working and coming here everyday,” said Poley, a pet owner herself.

Even though Saturday was the store’s grand opening, the store has been open for more than a month.

“I’ve been coming here since they opened,” said Doreen Fooder.

“The people are so nice,” said Fooder’s daughter Tara about the staff at Pet Valu.

Doreen Fooder took advantage of the store’s policy of bringing leashed and friendly animals into the store as she brought her Toy Maltese named Eva with her. Eva was enjoying being spoiled as her mom shopped for a new collar for her. “We are going to be regulars here,” chuckled Fooder.

A unique feature of Pet Valu is its self-serve dog wash. For a flat-rate, owners can take advantage of the store’s several tubs and conveniently provided shampoos, aprons, towels and dryers. The best part is that pet owners don’t have to worry about cleaning up after the animal’s bath since that is done by employees.

Some of Pet Valu’s other offerings include price matching, pet adoptions and items for pets big and small. Pet Valu is located in the Hammonton Square Shopping Center, 75 S. White Horse Pike.

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