Petco, the large multi-channel retailer is intent to purchase our beloved Drs. Foster Smith mail order and eCommerce business. Apparently the owners wanted out of their successful enterprise—which comes as no surprise as they are older in age and more than likely want to retire with their families and grand kids. We can’t blame Marty Smith and Race Foster, most of us would probably do the same if we were offered the choice.
However, Drs. Foster and Smith, whom we have all purchased from many times over, is at the heart of the aquatics industry most notably, their live aquatics division, Live Aquaria headed up by industry guru Kevin Kohen. Nobody in the industry even comes close to the service level and care about their animals as Kevin and his five-star team he has assembled. The division wrote the book on service levels for live fish, which other competitors have raced to copy and implement.
Petco executives have their hands full when it comes to the possibilities after the purchase is final. Drs. Foster and Smith is located in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, a less than ideal location logistics wise—hiring top tier talent to run the operation is not exactly easy. Few folks want to make Rhinelander a home compared to other popular locales like San Francisco, Austin, Chicago and New York.
Interestingly, Petco announced plans to build a new headquarters in San Diego, California, totaling over 300,000 square feet, due to open later in 2015. Will Foster and Smith relocate there? What about Live Aquaria?
Will F&S run as a separate company and brand, or will it be folded into the master Petco Corporation? Currently, Petco does next to nothing for the aquatics industry, let alone the larger pet industry besides investing in dog-sitting startups and pushing out press releases about pet nutrition during the holidays to get a bit of a news bump in online traffic. We don’t have the answers to the above questions but time will indeed tell what is going to happen to our beloved Drs. Foster and Smith and their amazing Live Aquaria.
The new “Petco Catalog” could soon become a reality. Linking Stores + Web + Catalog creating a unique omni-channel environment.