Looking for a good dog fight? Try Stony Point Fashion Park.
The latest contender is Daniel Lee Buckingham, the former owner of Pet Central. His shop specialized in selling photographic portraits of pets until his lease was suddenly canceled Nov. 1. The shop had been open for all of a month.
Buckingham is suing Stony Point, alleging that it was in breach of its lease agreement when it was terminated just before the Christmas shopping season. Stony Point, which is owned by Taubman Centers, received notice of the lawsuit May 9.
Buckingham is also suing Myra Holder, owner of the gourmet doggy-treat franchise Three Dog Bakery, located in the shopping center across from where Pet Central was.
"Because Three Dog Bakery was across the causeway, we have reason to believe that they complained to Stony Point" about the potential competition, says Shane L. Jimison, Buckingham's lawyer.
Stony Point is the only Richmond mall that allows shoppers to bring their dogs onto mall property and into some stores.
Joe Frye, general manager at Stony Point, says he won't comment on matters that might involve litigation. Holder declined to comment, and lawyers for Three Dog Bakery in Richmond didn't return phone calls by press time.
This is not the first time Three Dog has been embroiled in a fight. In November 2005, locals Mitzi and Chuck Staton were running Munson & Zevon, another doggy-related business located in the same corner of Stony Point where Pet Central opened almost a year later.
Munson & Zevon sold some pet treats, but focused on grooming and pet care. Then Three Dog Bakery, a national chain, moved in next door and took part of Munson & Zevon's retail space in late 2005.
Mall management notified Munson & Zevon Dec. 15, 2005, that it had to be out of the shopping center by Jan. 1, 2006.
Chuck Staton says the leasing agent told him, "Taubman made the decision to cancel my lease because they did not want a mom-and-pop organization competing against a national franchise they do business [with] in other cities."
Munson & Zevon has since relocated to the Promenade Shops, across from Short Pump Mall. Pet Central, however, hasn't reopened since getting the boot at Stony Point. SClick here for more News and Features