First Look: Petco opens small-town, rural store concept

Petco is testing a new format that features health-and-wellness products and services for farm animals as well as traditional pets.

Located in Floresville, Texas, the new Petco Neighborhood Farm & Pet Supply is designed as a one-stop-shop for customers with pets and livestock such as horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and other animals. Several additional locations are expected to open this year. In remarks at Petco’s investor day in May, chief stores officer Justin Tichy said the company had identified “hundreds of potential markets that we could serve.”

In addition to a curated farm and feed assortment and traditional pet supplies, Farm & Pet Supply features self-wash stations, mobile vaccination and grooming. It also offers curbside pickup, same-day delivery and buy online, pickup in store.

The new concept provides Petco with the opportunity to capture significant incremental market share and share of wallet gains in the growing rural market. Fourteen-percent of the U.S. population live in rural areas and the number is rapidly growing, with an estimated $7 billion total addressable market in small-town and rural locations, according to statistics cited by Petco.  In 2021, exurban counties saw the biggest increase in population growth across the board, with about 80% gaining new residents.

“These are rapidly-growing markets where pet parents are looking for an experienced, pet-dedicated partner like Petco to help them care for the health and wellness of their animals,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to serve more pets by dramatically expanding local access to healthy pet products and services.”

Petco’s new Farm & Pet Supply centers will also serve as destinations for safe community gathering and connection. Each location will offer local events and an in-store community board to support safe, pet-friendly interaction among neighbors.

Also, in partnership with Petco Love (formerly Petco Foundation), the locations will also offer adoption services and other health and wellness programs to further support local pets.

The new concept comes as Petco, whose net revenue rose 4.3% to $1.47 billion in the first quarter, is expanding in other areas. In January, the company entered into a partnership with Lowe’s to open in-store Petco shops inside Lowe’s locations.

[Read More: Petco partners to offer pet sitting, dog walking and other services]

Petco operates more than 1,500 pet care centers across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico, which offer merchandise, companion animals, grooming, training and a growing network of on-site veterinary hospitals and mobile veterinary clinics.

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