Dot's says goodbye as Apollo finalizes deal

Mar. 28—LIMA — Owner Evan Nieto said it was the best thing for the community, and his business to agree to sell Dot's Pet Center to Apollo Career Center.

Nieto announced March 15 that his pet store would be closing after five years in the community, but the Apollo Board of Education approved a purchase of the building at its meeting Tuesday.

"This has probably been a long time coming, but I wanted to go through every avenue I could," Nieto said. "I knew Apollo was doing a project behind me, so we reached out to them and asked if they had any interest. They came to do a walkthrough the following Monday and let us know they would be confirming it at the board meeting."

Apollo will be turning the property into a classroom with a specific purpose, according to superintendent Keith Horner.

"We're happy to work this out, and our intent is to use it for a CDL testing facility," he said. "Any plans beyond that are really still in question, but that's the most immediate thing we are going to do. And we want to continue to be good neighbors and serve the community."

Nieto said the plans made a lot of sense to him, and if Dot's would no longer be around, the classroom facility would still serve a purpose.

"Having the infrastructure already erected for them means they'll be able to move in easily," he said. "And they've given me until the end of June to make my exit while we let them come in and utilize the office. I'm a huge proponent of what they do, and they've been incredible neighbors."

Before Dot's gives way to Apollo, the store is having a clearance sale, and Nieto plans to keep the store's Facebook page up and running.

"I made the promise to my team that regardless of the announcement of the closure, we're not going to stop with what we've been known for, and I don't want people to think that we just gave up because that's not who we are," he said. "I know a lot of people have questions about their animals or products, and even though it won't generate a profit, it's the right thing to do for the community. I firmly believe that education multiplies. So we're going to keep that line open for people and give it our all until we close our doors for the final time."

In Nieto's goodbye message, he requested followers to continue supporting small businesses and to donate to The Cat Haven and Deb's Dogs.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.