Bay View pet store acquired by Chicago chain

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Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Bentley’s Pet Stuff has acquired The Natural Pet in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood from Kim Hecker, and has plans to open a total of 19 stores in the Milwaukee area over the next 12 months.

Bentley's Pet Stuff
The interior of a Bentley’s Pet Stuff store.

Hecker opened the store, which sells natural pet products and is located at 2532 E. Oklahoma Ave., in 2003. She and her five employees will continue to staff that location, where she will be a manager and employee trainer. Bentley’s will expand the store, nearly doubling its size, and add another two to three employees in the next 60 to 90 days.

The transaction closed April 1. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Bentley’s, founded by Lisa and Giovanni Senafe in 2008 as Bentley’s Corner Barkery, acquired Chicago-based Pet Stuff in November and became Bentley’s Pet Stuff. The company has 53 employees at 15 Chicago-area locations selling natural pet food, treats, toys and other pet accessories.

One of Bentley’s investors is Marcus Lemonis, a Marquette University alumnus and host of CNBC reality show “The Profit.” Bentley’s appeared on the show in October, at which time Lemonis invested $1.7 million for a 40 percent stake. Lisa Senafe still owns a majority of the company, and another investor has a small stake, Giovanni said.

The company has been rapidly expanding in the Milwaukee area under Lemonis’ guidance. In February, it entered the Milwaukee market by acquiring Shorewood’s Pet Outpost and it is targeting two other Milwaukee area acquisitions this year, Giovanni said. The company has also increased the number of new stores it plans to open in metro Milwaukee this year, with 15 new locations under lease and in various stages of buildout.

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Bentley’s has leased space and is completing the buildout of the new area locations near grocery store anchors, mostly Pick ’n Save stores, in: Pewaukee; New Berlin; Delafield; Grafton; Menomonee Falls; Fox Point; two in Brookfield; and potentially Cudahy, Giovanni said. Bentley’s has now added Pleasant Prairie and Racine locations to the list.

In Fox Point, Bentley’s plans to open in the Fresh Market-anchored Riverpoint Village Shopping Center at 8705 N. Port Washington Road; in Brookfield, its stores are planned near the Trader Joe’s at 12665 W. Bluemound Road and near the Metro Market at 17630 W. Bluemound Road. In Pleasant Prairie, the store will be one of the tenants in a development including Corner Bakery in the outlot in front of Costco, at south of State Highway 50 and west of 91st Avenue.

The exact locations of the other stores were not disclosed. Once all the new locations are open, Bentley’s will need to establish a warehouse to supply them in the Milwaukee area, Giovanni said.

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“Bentley’s Pet stuff and The Natural Pet share a passion for delivering the best quality products for our pets,” Lemonis said. “With 12 new locations in the works for the Milwaukee area, we are extremely proud to expand our portfolio with The Natural Pet location and look forward to continue serving the greater metropolitan area with the same exceptional service customers have become accustomed to.”

Lisa Senafe, CEO and Founder of Bentley’s Pet Stuff, stated, “We are very excited to add The Natural Pet to the Bentley’s family.” Mrs. Senafe added, “Consistent with our prior acquisitions, we expect this new location to highlight our commitment to promoting healthy foods and treats for the well-being of animals.”

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