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Purr-fect Pets Is Closing

The pet store is shutting its doors after more than a quarter century in business.

Purr-fect Pets is continuing a big sale and then closing its doors for good after offering purr-fect service for more than a quarter century.

Customers, obviously disappointed, have been coming into the store to say good-bye to owner Tom Fomenko Sr. -- and to stock up on supplies marked more than half off its original price.

"It is time for me to move on," Fomenko said.

The store at 286 Boston Post Road has been known for a personal touch that far exceeded any chain establishment. Rabbits and guinea pigs were out in the open -- and the staff dished out expert advice, sometimes chatting with customers for hours at no cost.

"We're not a chain -- and we (the employees) and the customers are very involved--we are like family. We are definitely hands-on with our animals," explained employee Kate Poplaski, a biology major at Sacred Heart University with plans of becoming a veterinarian.

Fomenko's journey in the pet business began in 1975 when he and brother-in-law Danny Hughes opened a 216-aquarium store, Fishco, in 1975.

"Six years later, we had 1200 tanks and sold $8 million worth of fish," Fomenko said.

In 1984, Hughes passed away and Fomenko left the fish business behind, opening the doors to Purr-fect Pets in December of 1985.

"I had $80,000 worth of debt on credit cards to open this store but I managed to pay it off within the first year," Fomenko said.

There's hope that the store will re-open under new ownership.

"This has been a labor of love and I have been searching for the right person to take over the business--I did not want to just give it to anyone," Fomenko said.

A former, longtime employee, Stacey Stryker, her brother, and her husband are interested in reopening the store within the next year.

"We love animals and are family oriented and would like to try to make this work if we can get the finances and other aspects of the business in order to open the store in the near future," Stryker said.

"We would like to continue Tom's legacy," added her husband Chad Stryker.

Cindy Lee Durner December 23, 2011 at 12:01 PM
Going to miss purr-fect pet. Always got the best advice.
Priscilla Lynn December 23, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Another business bites the dust...that's purr-fectly awful! I wish Tom and his staff wishes for other great adventures in the New Year and years to come.
Ortal December 23, 2011 at 01:36 PM
It is indeed sad that another local business is closing, right on the heals of M&M farms. however I really had issues with this place. They kept their male and female small animals (rodents, guinea pigs, bunnies) in the same cages, which is extremely irresponsible. once when i mentioned this to them an associate told me 'oh, if we see them starting to mate we just separate them from each other'. Their staff was also ill-trained on sexing their animals, as my friend once brought home two 'girls'. One of these turned out to be a male guinea pig. The female took pregnant and died shortly after when trying to deliver her pups. This was an extremely unfortunate and traumatic experience. I also saw them keeping guinea pigs and rabbits in the same pen, even though the animals don't eat the same food and a rabbit can easily kill a guinea pig with one accidental kick. While its always sad when a longstanding business goes out of business, especially one that is family owned, this one was doing more harm than good in many ways.
semantha norton December 23, 2011 at 05:21 PM
There are always going to be activists and always going to be petstores. I had a long run working for Tom and learned many things that I have been able to carry through into my career in the pet intdustry. He was difficult as any boss can be, but on the up side so knowledgable....it was never dull working for Purr-Fect Pets.....and I have some wonderful memories of the people I encountered, and the job I whole heartedly loved.
Joyce December 23, 2011 at 06:12 PM
It was always nice stopping in and picking up just what I needed for my pets over the past years. I'm going to miss the non-chain pet shop. I'll also miss 'talking' to the rabbits and large friendly birds. Always a pleasure to shop there. Good luck to Tom and his family.
Larissa Watt December 23, 2011 at 08:02 PM
The store is closing and there are those who still just can't help being negative. It's not as though they abused animals or ran a puppy mill. As a matter of fact, there was a point where he even helped with adopting stray cats. I will miss having this store in Milford. For all you pet owners, until tomorrow, everything in the store is half off.
Larissa Watt December 23, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Tomorrow around 5 p.m. they will close.
Terri Miles December 23, 2011 at 11:42 PM
NO!!!! I LOVE THIS STORE AND THE STAFF! TRULY A SAD DAY IN MILFORD.
RIck George December 24, 2011 at 01:20 AM
I've known Tom for over 50 years. He was always kind to the animal shelter. I will miss the store and wish him peace and happiness as he unfolds his next chapter!
Michael Brown December 24, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Nice people. Nice Store. Very sorry to see them go.
Nancy December 24, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Please consider the animals. There's nothing kind about profiting off the misery of others. The bird trade is cruel and there are so many unwanted rabbits after people buy them because they are cute, stick them in cages, then many decide they don't want them anymore so they release them. Saved a rabbit who was released by the people who bought him for their daughter, tired of the rabbit and just turned him loose (and this was in downtown Stamford!). A very kind person in Norwalk who rescues rabbits took this rabbit in and he now has a forever home with another kind volunteer (neither of these people make a dime off of any animal). Hoping this new year will awaken people to the tragedy of buying and selling other living beings whether they are cute and cuddly like rabbits, cats, and dogs or not so cute as fish and reptiles.
Ray Fellows December 25, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Ive lived in Milford for 20 years and never seen or heard of this place. I used to go to a place on 140 but that closed years ago.
Larissa Watt December 26, 2011 at 02:44 AM
Nancy, that is so true. People falsely assume that you can just release a rabbit into the wild if it is no longer wanted but it is cruel to do so after they have been domesticated. Many birds and rabbits live in misery stuck in a cage, depressed from boredom and without adequate exercise.
Ortal December 27, 2011 at 01:59 AM
I am not an activist nor am I 'happy' that the store is closing. I don't think they were a puppy mill nor do I think they were any worse than any other big chain store. Im sure in many ways they were better. I was just sharing MY experiences with the store, which were very troubling. I wish the family that owned it nothing but the best in whatever they pursue.
John O'Neil DVM December 27, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Any small business that lasted 25 years is doing something right. The fact that Tom paid off his debts instead of walking away from them says a lot about him. Good luck in the future Tom.
Angus December 27, 2011 at 03:34 PM
The place was convenient to get to from my house but...ultimately it was an off putting experience. The owner was fond of quoting scripture or trying to convert you when all you wanted was some Hamster food. Separation of church and pet food, please. I don't wanna hear it.

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