Growth is forcing another expansion for MadCat.

Just two years after its Monroe Street store moved to a bigger space across Knickerbocker Street, MadCat has announced plans to move its Williamson Street operation to the former Brew & Grow at 1525 Williamson St. The move from the 900-square-foot store at 1012 Williamson St. will more than quadruple the retail space and is designed to meet the growing demand for its wide range of cat and dog products for those on the isthmus.

Cheryl Balazs, one three co-owners of the three-store company, said she and her partners had wanted to buy their existing building because it had a large space in the back that was unused. But when that didn't work they began looking this spring at other locations on Williamson Street. The space that had been home to Brew & Grow, which closed earlier this year after six years, was a natural fit and about the only space large enough to meet their needs.

"This is a unique time on Willy Street. There's a lot of new development and things going on," Balazs said.  "This (Brew & Grow) spot has parking and is the largest location that we looked at and frankly it just felt like the right place for us to go. We desperately wanted to stay on Willy Street."

The Williamson Street store, and the 3,500-square-foot store at 7820 Mineral Point Rd., opened in 2002 when owner Ted O'Donnell bought two former pet supply store locations. In 2006, he opened the 800-square-foot Monroe Street store in a strip mall at the corner of Knickerbocker and Monroe streets. But in 2016, the store moved across the street into a 2,900-square-foot space at 2701 Monroe St.

The company, with 30 employees, has been hiring to prepare for the Williamson Street move and will begin the build-out of the new store in four to six weeks, said Balazs, who previously worked with Humane Societies and other non-profits before becoming a partner in MadCat in 2008 along with Amy Cross and O'Donnell. The company is also keeping its eyes open for a fourth location, possibly in the Monona or Sun Prairie zip codes, once the Williamson Street store is moved.

"We really have a strong service model," Balazs said when asked about her company's growth. "People come to MadCat because they're looking for expert advice on nutrition, behavior, anything pet related. And our staff has really immersed themselves in those topics."

Send retail-related tips and story ideas to badams@madison.com or call Barry Adams at 608-252-6148.

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Barry Adams covers regional and business news for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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