Pet Outpost acquired by Chicago pet store chain

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

Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Bentley’s Pet Stuff has acquired Pet Outpost, which is located in Shorewood, and has plans to open another eight to 10 stores in the Milwaukee area over the next 12 months.

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

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 42 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.

“Milwaukee’s always been on the target for my wife and I just because of the proximity and the ease of getting there,” Giovanni said. “Obviously because of Marcus’ investment and he’s an (alumnus) of Marquette, he put it at the top of the list.”

Pet Outpost, located at 4604 N. Wilson Dr. in Shorewood, was previously owned by Sherri Losby, who opened the store in 2011 to sell natural pet products. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Pet Outpost has four employees, who will continue with Bentley’s. Losby will remain with Bentley’s to drive its brand growth and run the Milwaukee territory, he said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to grow a business with like-minded individuals,” Losby said. “We are very excited and look forward to helping pets achieve great lives.”

“It’s just easier for us to have a trusted person that can take ownership of a territory and believes in what we believe in and keep the standards that we keep and have (her) be the point person,” Giovanni said of Losby.

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.

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. The exact locations of the other stores were not disclosed.

“There’s no one in the area that we feel are great competitors,” Giovanni said. “We wanted to go all in and just service as much of that area as possible.”

Lemonis has helped the Senafes take a pause to put in place the right employees and infrastructure before continuing to grow, he said.

“For the first time, what it’s done is really help us make decisions for the long term,” he said. “I don’t even know where we would be without Marcus right now. He just flipped our priorities to getting that groundwork in and then we were fair to everybody.”

Lemonis
Lemonis

“We are excited to bring Bentley’s Pet Stuff to the Milwaukee area to help meet customer demand for natural pet products,” Lemonis said. “As an (alumnus) of Marquette University, I have always wanted to bring one of my businesses to the Milwaukee area. By acquiring the existing Pet Outpost location, we are in an opportune position to serve the greater metropolitan area with the same exceptional service customers have become accustomed to and start the process to open additional locations in this market.”

“As pet lovers, our values perfectly aligned with Sherri and the Pet Outpost staff, and we’re confident this new addition to our business and future expansion will help us continue to offer the very best in products and services to pets and their owners,” Lisa Senafe said. “This acquisition highlights our commitment to promoting healthy foods and treats for the well-being of animals and further allows our team to meet the vast needs of pet owners.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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