GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- The owner of a controversial pet store is hoping the third time is the charm.
Thursday, after two other failed attempts in West Michigan, the Barking Boutique opened in Grandville Plaza.
Opponents claim the business, which sells purebred puppies, is getting the animals from puppy mills. But owner David Boelkes says he wants to provide a service to the community and be transparent for his customers. He is displaying breeder guides at the front desk of the store.
"Basically shows where the dogs come from; it shows the parents living, shows how they are housed. And most importantly, we get to go to the kennels and see the dogs' behavior," Boelkes said.
Boelkes says he wants customers to be completely satisfied with what they buy, while also dispelling what he says are rumors about him getting his dogs from puppy mills.
"We're trying to cover all the basics to minimize the risk for any family purchasing a puppy," he said.
Many people are against the store, and claim that the dogs are from puppy mills and irresponsible breeders. They say that adopting pets from a shelter is a better way to go.
A petition against the store has collected more than 4,000 signatures.
Boelks said there were protesters outside the store during a soft opening on Wednesday. Another protest is planned for Sunday.
The store tried to open twice before the Grandville location. Last year, the Lakes Mall in Muskegon backed out of a deal just before the grand opening. Months later, Woodland Mall evicted the shop within a week.