Wednesday, February 7, 2024

[WOOF!] Chewy Looks to Bring Customer-Centric Focus to Crowded Vet Care Business

Popular online pet food and related products retailer Chewy announced this past December that it was getting into the vet care business.   At the time of the new business announcement, officially "Chewy Vet Care," Chewy indicated the first facility would open in Plantation, Florida, where it is headquartered  ToNeTo Atlanta has now confirmed that the company will also open two locations in metro Atlanta.  

In Dunwoody, Chewy Vet Care will be situated in a 4,400 square foot space in Ashford Lane (4531 Olde Perimeter Way, Suite 150) between the former Panera and current kids activity center CAMP in the Target-anchored mixed-use development.  The space was originally an outpost of kids' clothing retailer Carter's, but had more recently been a "Design Center" for Meritage Homes.  

A second Chewy Vet Care is coming to Sandy Springs where it will occupy a 4,447 square foot space in the Kroger-anchored Fountain Oaks shopping center (4920 Roswell Road, Suite 30) where it will open in place of pet retailer PetPeople.  The space has been vacant for more than a year following Hollywood Feed's 2022 purchase and subsequent closure of select PetPeople stores.  

The two planned Atlanta area facilities are a little less than five miles apart.  

Established in 2011, Chewy has garnered a reputation with pet owners and industry observers alike for having some of the best customer service around.  Chewy now plans to apply that same level of service and empathy to the veterinary business.  

We partnered with hundreds of veterinarians and customers to design an in-practice and post-visit experience which we believe will be unlike anything in the market, and appreciated by both communities,” said Mita Malhotra, President, Chewy Health. “Our practices contain thoughtfully designed spaces for the comfort and privacy of our customers and care team. Chewy Vet Care will be powered by our proprietary, easy-to-use modern technology, to deliver a seamless and memorable experience, which we have delivered for over a decade in our core businesses. Expanding into veterinary care is the natural next step in Chewy’s evolution and we are excited to bring our customer-forward thinking to our veterinarians and practice team.”

To be clear, Chewy is joining a crowded market where several providers already exist and others are entering the market.  

The Village Vets operates six locations across metro Atlanta.  

Chicago-based GoodVets has four locations open in metro Atlanta including those in Dunwoody, West Midtown, West Buckhead, and Toco Hills.  

Petfolk, a Charlotte-based veterinary business, entered the Atlanta market in 2023 and today operates clinics in Sandy Springs, East Cobb, and Peachtree Corners, with new locations "coming soon" to Kennesaw and Cumming.  

New York's Bond Vet is entering the market soon with new locations coming soon to Poncey-Highland and West Midtown.  

One of the biggest players in the vet care business, however, may come as a surprise to some.  Mars Inc. (yes, the makers of M&M's and other candies) though its Mars Petcare subsidiary, owns Banfield Pet Hospital which operates forty locations across Georgia including 29 in PetSmart stores.  Mars also owns BluePearl and VCA Pet Hospitals which together have more than two dozen other facilities across Georgia.  

In 2017, Chewy was purchased by PetSmart for $3.35 billion.  The company went public in 2019 and officially separated from PetSmart in 2020.  

In the weeks since the Chewy Vet Care announcement, the company added listings for additional locations in Coral Springs, Florida and Denver.  The company has also in recent days added job postings for "Practice Manager" and "Credited Veterinary Technician" in Atlanta.  

We visited the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs spaces last week and observed no work underway suggesting that the business may have yet to file permits.  That said, if work is started in the next few weeks, it seems reasonable to consider the new clinic could still open later this year.  

Are you enthusiastic about the introduction of Chewy Vet Care?  Are you a current Chewy customer?  What are your thoughts on all the new veterinary options coming to Atlanta? 

Please share your thoughts below.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I use Chewy for food and med orders and have found them to be very reliable and have great customer service on the rare occasion it was needed. That said, I'll pass on the corporate vet practice. We drive past numerous vets to go to an old school father and son practice in the Tucker/Lakeside area after growing frustrated with the outrageous prices in the Dunwoody/Sand Springs area. Just a personal preference, but I like seeing the same vet each time I visit.

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