Pet Stores Temporarily Revise Policies Amid COVID-19
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As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, pet retail officials are making temporary changes to store operations to help ensure the safety of their customers and associates. These extra measures include amending store hours, offering home delivery and closing grooming stations, to name a few.
Pet Valu and its sister company Pet Supermarket are two such retailers implementing temporary changes to its store policies.
“We believe taking these actions offer the best solutions for balancing our three main priorities: safety of our associates and devoted pet lover customers, servicing the essential needs of pets, and maintaining a clean and sanitized work environment,” said Richard Maltsbarger, president and CEO of Pet Supermarket and Pet Valu, which has U.S. headquarters in Wayne, Pa. “I want to thank all of our associates and customers for working together through this difficult time to find the best ways possible to continue to care for the pets we all love.”
- Customers can call their store to place their order by phone, and then pick up after its filled.
- Dedicating increased attention to e-commerce services through Pet Supermarket in order to fill home delivery options.
- Limiting the number of customers that can enter the store at any time to two.
- Shortening hours of operation to 10 a.m-6 p.m. to allow for re-stocking and sanitation of stores. (Customers are encouraged to call their local store to confirm hours.)
- Currently not accepting returns and extending the return policy period. Customers are being asked to keep the item(s) intended for return and associated receipt(s) until further notice.
- All customers are asked to have a list or photos of supplies ready, so that associates can help retrieve products. Customers will be directed to wait at the sanitized checkout counter to complete all in-store transactions. (Debit or credit is preferred at checkout, officials said, adding that some stores are no longer accepting cash at this time.)
- Temporarily closing all self-serve dog wash stations and grooming salons.
- Canceling all local events and postponing its annual Pet Appreciation Month and National Adoption Weekend, supporting local animal shelters and rescues.
CountryMax, which operates 17 locations across New York, has taken on similar adjustments to its operations in response to the pandemic.
“First and foremost, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe, healthy and in good spirits,” officials said in a statement. “At CountryMax, we’re hard at work ensuring our community will be able to get the essential food and supplies for their pets and livestock in these uncertain times. We take our responsibility as an essential community resource to keep pets and livestock fed and healthy extremely seriously, while also putting the health and safety of our team members, customers and community at the top of the list.”
Key points about CountryMax’s current operations include:
- Amending store hours to 10 a.m.-6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Reducing staff where possible.
- Distributing signage throughout its stores to remind team members and customers to practice recommended guidelines, such as social distancing.
- Reminding pet owners of its at-home delivery and “buy online, pick up in-store” options.
Pet Supplies Plus officials have also reached out to its customer base to update them on its current operations.
“Providing a safe way for pet parents to obtain quality food and necessary supplies for their pets is our highest priority,” said Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus in Livonia, Mich. “Pet parents should not feel like they have to compromise their pets’ nutrition or other needs during this pandemic.”
Pet Supplies Plus has implemented the following:
- The company’s more than 490 stores in 34 states nationwide will remain open and are offering free 2-hour curbside pickup.
- Several stores in 17 states are delivering pet food and supplies directly to pet owners’ homes. States include: Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
For more on how retailers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, read PPN's coverage: