Western Cattle Company moving from Peru to Utica

Planning Commission splits 3-2 over display of animals

A western wear store is moving from Peru to Mill Street in Utica.

Thursday, the Utica Planning Commission recommended approval of petitions by the owners of Western Cattle Company Factory Outlet. The business is moving from Peru to 130 Mill St. (the former Mill street Market).

The vote was 3-2. Commissioners Andy Skoog and Dennis Hamilton opposed the special use after a surprise revelation the proprietors, who breed dogs, would display puppies for off-site sale — a fact not disclosed in the original petition — and over design concerns. Acting Chairman Doug Gift split the tie.

Thursday’s vote was only a recommendation. A formal vote is pending before the Utica Village Board, which meets Aug. 11.

Petitioner Robert Martens said his grandfather founded the business in 1949 in Mendota. They moved to Peru in the mid-1980s and were located on 38th Street in the building that had been shared with Jimmy John’s.

“Utica has been on our radar for a long time,” Martens said. “We are very happy to be here. I love the town — I just love it. And we’re happy to be part of the town.”

Besides clothing and boots, the store would have specialty food items such as bottled barbecue sauce and locally-procured meats with more product expected.

Facade improvements could be completed in 2023. Hours of operation are loosely targeted from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for Christmas shopping season.

Martens said the business would sell package goods, but there would be no on-site consumption.

“We have no interest in having anyone have anything they can open in our store and drink in our store,” he said. “Alcohol is just nasty with boots. It stains them real bad.”