BY MARIA D. JAMES  — Saturday’s rainy weather did little to dampen the mood during the ribbon-cutting celebration inside the new Unleashed by Petco. Visitors to the new store, located at 3704 East-West Highway, were greeted by balloon decorations and employees.

Unleashed by Petco is one of the latest businesses to open at the Gateway at UTC complex; just last month the city celebrated the grand opening of Safeway.

Hyattsville City Mayor Candace Hollingsworth joined store leaders for the grand opening event.  The ribbon-cutting ceremony was just one of several events planned to introduce the community to the pet store. The closest store is located in Washington, DC and Silver Spring.

Photo by Nancy Gillette.
Photo by Nancy Gillette.

Other grand opening celebratory events are planned for the next few weeks. On Saturday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. customers can stop in and take pictures with their furry friends. Free flip books will be given out as well along with free gift cards valued between $5 – 200. The gift cards will be given to the first 50 people who sign up for the Pals Rewards program.

Then on Sunday, June 5 at 3 p.m., the store will host its first seminar on the topic of adopting a new dog. All seminars are free.

According to a company press release, Unleashed by Petco is a community-oriented pet specialty retailer that focuses on natural nutrition and dog and cat supply essentials. The brand offers more than 115 locations nationwide specializing in natural and organic pet food and treats including a large made-in-the-USA assortment.

Unleashed by Petco District Manager Brian Mathis says that the “Unleashed” brand really focuses on personal interaction and pet nutrition. “People don’t understand how important nutrition is for animals,” said Mathis. He points out that while the store primarily offers food, medicine and other items for dogs and cats, customers can place orders online in the store and then have it shipped. The store also offers a small selection of items for other animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.

Photo by Juliette Fradin.
Photo by Juliette Fradin.

The store also offers dog owners a self pet wash station, which comes complete with all of the needed supplies, such as shampoo and towels. Cost is $10, but in celebration of the grand opening the cost has been discounted to $5 from now until Sunday, June 5th.

Dog trainers are available on-site to offer positive training classes for dogs ranging from puppies to more senior dogs.  Any breed is welcome to come in and meet the dog trainer. Dogs may participate in the  American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen program. According to the AKC website, the program is considered to be the gold standard for dog behavior.  Dogs who pass the 10-step test can earn a certificate and/or the official AKC CGC title.

Free dog training seminars are held at the store once per month, with topics ranging from potty training to leash walking.

Other amenities offered include low-cost vaccinations. The Vetco clinic, which is located in the back of the store, will host its first monthly vaccination on Saturday, June 25 at 4 p.m. No appointment is needed.

“When we heard about the new Safeway and all the development nearby we jumped on the chance to be apart of this community,” said General Leader and Store Manager Lena Jarvis.

Jarvis says she has received nothing but positive feedback from the community. She and others have been visiting dog parks around the city to greet pet owners and promote the new store.

Photo by Nancy Gillette.
Photo by Nancy Gillette.

As part of the Petco family of brands, Unleashed by Petco also works with and supports the Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, which has invested more than $135 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals.

The hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  For more information about the store, visit or call (301) 683-3963.