Woodlands Pet Store Moves In to Western Sports Location

The pet store just opened its third Marin location in downtown San Rafael.

Pet lovers have a new place on Third Street to get to their furry loved ones some treats.

Woodlands Pet Food and Treats opened its third Marin location at 902 Third St. at the end of October, filling a space that was left vacant by Western Sports Shop since December 2011. The store sells healthy food, accessories and supplies for pets. The San Rafael location also features a self-service pet wash station.

Western Sports, which sold merchandise to anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts for 65 years, closed their doors in January 2012 after they couldn't find a new business owner. Rob Hansen, owner of Woodlands Pets, was already in lease negotiations to rent a new location in Novato, but thought the Third Street location was better suited to his needs.

"I drove by and saw the 'For Lease' sign and just thought it was perfect," Hansen said.

Hansen's love of pets stems from age 9, when he helped raise guide dogs for the 4-H youth development program in Southern California. Now living in Greenbrae, Hansen decided to get in to the pet retail world in 2005 when he saw his brother-in-law's success with the Marin-based boutique grocery Woodlands Markets.

With a background in technology, Hansen opened the first his shop's location in Mill Valley in 2006, and immediately loved the retail world. "I liked the idea of you give me a dollar, and I'll give you something worth a dollar, which was very different from my previous job," he said.

And shoppers loved Woodlands Pets. Two years after the success of his first store, Hansen opened a new location in Greenbrae and then expanded the Mill Valley location. Come 2012, Hansen was looking for another location and began lease negotiations with Novato before he landed at Third Street in downtown San Rafael. 

Hansen originally wanted to find a San Rafael location, partially due to its connections with Guide Dogs for the Blind in Terra Linda, but finding a place with adequate parking for customers carrying large bags of kitty litter or dog food was challenging.

With lease talks taking some time for the Novato location, Hansen discovered 902 Third St. located near a downtown parking garage and Walgreens.

Now, two weeks after their grand opening, the San Rafael location is doing well. "It's always a big stretch when you open a new business, and I was feeling that stretch," Hansen said. "Marin is such a pet-passionate community. Our pets are like members of our family. And as long as we continue to offer healthy foods and treats, I think we'll thrive."

Have you shopped at Woodlands Pet Food and Treats? Rate it in our directory.

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