Pet supply retailer Loyal Companion plans to close its eight Maine stores, including this one in Saco. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

A pet supply retailer with stores 53 stores nationwide is closing eight of them in Maine. 

Loyal Companion announced this week that its parent company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will close the majority of the stores as the company reorganizes. They include stores in Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Saco, North Windham, Topsham, Lewiston and Sanford.

The closures will be completed by Feb. 28. The retailer said it will offer liquidation discounts throughout the month and grooming services will be available until mid-February.

With a heavy heart, we want to inform you that we’ve made the tough decision to close our Loyal Companion stores,” the retailer said in a statement Monday. “We have loved serving the community and supporting you on your pet wellness journey. ” 

It was not immediately clear how many Maine employees will be affected.

Independent Pet Partners, Loyal Companion’s parent company, said it will work to find buyers for the closing locations so that pet owners aren’t left in the lurch.


Two customers outside the Saco location said they were told by employees that the store has been bought by another company and so will remain open. However, the Press Herald could not confirm the purchase of any of the Maine branches. Independent Pet Partners did not respond to messages Tuesday seeking information about any such deal and the number of employees in Maine.

Jess Harvey said she breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday when she heard the Saco store would not be liquidating and saw the store manager taking down clearance-sale signs. 

Harvey, a Saco resident, has been shopping at the Loyal Companion, previously Pet Life, for nearly 10 years.

It’s one of the only places she’s found where she can buy chews and toys that her two dogs, Gronk, a German shepherd, and Adonis, a pit bull, won’t immediately rip apart. 

“They have things made for bigger dogs,” she said. “Big breeds need the love too.” 

She buys treats, toys and dog food at the store, but Harvey said it’s the staff that keeps her coming back. They’re hands-on, attentive, caring and helpful, she said.


Mary Jo Stanton said she heard about the Loyal Companion closures when she went to the location in Scarborough over the weekend and saw the bare shelves. She started researching where else she could take her Labrador mix Dora for her regular nail trim and buy dog food. 

But during her appointment at the Saco store on Tuesday afternoon, she was relieved to hear the store would be staying open. 

“I like to shop local and keep the smaller guys in business because that’s what’s killing them,” she said of large retailers.

Paula Chamalian of Biddeford and her dog Bear visited the Loyal Companion store in Saco on Tuesday. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Paula Chamalian, a Biddeford resident, also praised the staff at the Saco store.

Her 5-year-old shepherd mix Bear doesn’t like other dogs, she explained. But the employees always accommodate him and are helpful when he goes to get his monthly nail trim.

Chamalian hadn’t heard the store was closing but said she hopes another small pet store will take its place.


“They provide wonderful service,” she said.


Loyal Companion launched in 2019 as a combination of seven independent pet retailers: Bark!, Especially For Pets, Kriser’s, Pet Life, Pet Source, Dogma and Whole Pet Central.

Independent Pet Partners said it now plans to refocus on its core markets in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Those stores and another subsidiary, Natural Pawz, will consolidate and be renamed under the company’s Chuck & Don’s and Kriser’s brands. 

The company said it is confident that it will emerge as a “stronger, more focused business.”

Many pet supply companies have struggled to keep food in stock during the last several years as supply chain disruptions left shelves bare. But the pet products industry as a whole seems to be on a hot streak.

According to the American Pet Products Association, the industry sold more than $123 billion worth of products and services in 2021, eclipsing 2020’s record of $103 billion. Pet owners spent more than $50 billion on pet food and treats, a nearly 14% increase over the previous year.

While 2022 figures are not yet available, the association expects continued but more moderate growth given inflation, supply chain issues and global relations, spokesperson Anne Ferrante said in a news release.

Independent retailers have struggled to compete against online giants like Chewy and Amazon as well as the online storefronts of retailers like Walmart and Petsmart. Market research company Packaged Facts reported that online pet food sales capture 36% of the market and are expected to reach 55% by 2025.

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