Rhinelander’s Foster and Smith to close Feb. 12
Star Journal Report
Editor’s note: In a press release issued to the Star Journal Jan. 9, Petco gave a closing date of Feb. 12. In a letter received by the Rhinelander Mayor, the company stated the effective date of the permanent closure is March 10, 2019, and that “the employment of 289 employees working at the facility will cease during a two-week period commencing March 10, 2019.
Petco has announced it has made the “difficult by necessary decision” to close operations at Rhinelander’s Drs. Foster and Smith pet supply operations Feb. 12.
“Taking into account the needs of modern pet parents, shifting consumer preferences and the ongoing evolution of the Petco brand, we believe this will enable us to streamline operations and better focus on our core business and customer,” according to a company statement.
The closure affects 289 employees, with their last days of employment “varying over the next 60 to 120 days.”
All employees were notified today, and sent home for the remainder of the day. The company will be providing severance and transition support.
“This decision has not been an easy one, nor has it been made lightly, and we appreciate that it has a very real effect on both individuals and the broader community in Rhinelander. In an effort to help, we’re committed to working with local officials to provide ample outplacement programming for those impacted starting in February,” the company stated.
The Retail Store is included in the closing. Petco’s Live Aquaria business, including 59 employees, will remain open.
Veterinarians Dr. Rory Foster, Dr. Race Foster and Dr. Marty Smith started the company, opening their first facility, which processed mail-order pet supplies and produced catalogs, in 1985. The current building in the Rhinelander Air Park was built in 1992. Petco bought the business in 2015 and has announced previous job cuts as recently as last summer in the pharmacy department.