PetSmart is a privately held American chain of pet superstores, which sell pet products, services, and small pets. The company’s headquarters are located in the Westgate Center in Phoenix, Arizona. It is the leading North American pet company, and its direct competitor is Petco. The company is currently the largest retailer of pets and pet supplies in the United States. PetSmart was founded by Arthur S. Goldberg in 1970 as Goldblatt’s Petland in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Stores also provide services including grooming, dog daycare, dog and cat boarding, veterinary care via in-store third-party clinics, and dog training. Additionally, they offer dog and cat adoption via in-store adoption centers facilitated by the nonprofit PetSmart Charities.

The family-owned business was started in 1986 by Jim and Janice Dougherty, who wanted to create a retail store that was more convenient for pet owners than the standard neighborhood pet stores. Their vision for pet food was to have a warehouse-like experience where shoppers could buy in bulk at a discount.

New leadership at the company has led to a shift in their business model. Under new management, they changed their name to PETsMART and have begun to shift their focus away from discount warehouses to more appealing retail locations.

The company went public via an IPO in 1993, and thereafter increased its nationwide expansion and the types of goods and services it offered. After opening nearly 300 stores in the U.S., in 1996 the company expanded to Canada.


In January 2016, PETA released details of an investigation of Holmes Farm, a major supplier of live animals to Petsmart, Petco and Pet Supplies Plus. The company was revealed to be breeding rabbits for sale at retail outlets with filthy, windowless warehouse-type facilities in which animals lived in overcrowded bins and often drank from contaminated water bowls or had no water at all.

Cats who were once roaming freely inside the facility were frequently found trapped inside feces-smeared containers and then suffocated by CO poisoning or froze to death.

Over the span of roughly three months, PETA’s investigator found hundreds of dead animals at the complex, often in habitats which contained no drinking water. In May 2016, PetSmart ceased utilizing the rodent dealer Holmes Farm, Inc. in Barto, Pennsylvania, after the dealer was cited for multiple infractions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during an inspection. The USDA inspection of the rodent dealer followed a November 2015 PETA undercover investigation at the facility that found rats and mice crammed in cages, and mice without food or water.

In February 2016, another PETA investigation uncovered a large scale reptile mill and supplier for PetSmart. The abuse included frogs, lizards, turtles and other animals crammed into filthy, overcrowded plastic bins stacked on top of each other. Living creatures who were deprived of water for days or even weeks.

Sick and injured animals denied veterinary care. Emaciated, severely dehydrated animals desperate for water.” The investigation did not find any abuse from PetSmart employees. The company released a statement saying “We are reviewing the matter internally, and if we find that our standards have not been met, we will take appropriate action immediately. An undercover operation by a PETA employee who got jobs at three PetSmart stores in Arizona, Florida,and Tennessee[116] led to a raid of a PetSmart store in Nashville by authorities in March 2018. Six sick or injured small animals – a guinea pig, mice, and hamsters – were confiscated from the store and sent to a veterinary hospital after video and photos were presented by the PETA operative. Three employees of the Nashville store – the store manager, assistant store manager, and customer engagement manager – pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in June 2018 and were sentenced to 20 hours of community service and ordered to pay the veterinary bills for the animals seized by Nashville animal care and control authorities. In June 2018 PetSmart filed suit against the undercover employee, on the grounds that she failed to disclose on her job application that she was a paid PETA operative, took secret surveillance videos and photos, and withheld medical care from the animals in question, instead filming them to produce an exposé. 

In May 2019 PetSmart added PETA to the lawsuit as a defendant, describing it as a “militant, activist organization” that has “a long history of conducting unlawful, covert operations and infiltrations to eradicate pet ownership”.

Rejuvenation and North American growth 2000–2005.

PETsMART was in serious financial trouble in the 2000s and struggled to make ends meet. Its stock was plummeting at one point, and the company was losing customers to big box retailers like Walmart. So the management team decided to make some big changes, not just to keep things going, but to improve the experience for customers.

In 2001, the company laid out a three-year plan to expand in-store services and products and provide high-quality customer service. In order to do this, it began an extensive training program for its employees, to help them identify customers’ needs and provide solutions.

1.By early 2002, PETSmart’s stock had recovered. It quadrupled from its low in mid

  1. The company was also starting to expand. By the end of 2002 there were Banfield Pet Hospitals in more than half of its stores. PETSmart had eight distribution centers around the country and was opening an average of 100 new stores annually between 2002 and
  2. In 2004 the company launched its PetPerks loyalty card program, which offered promotional discounts and customization to shoppers. PETSmart could also individually promote services or products a given customer had not yet used. This gave them more insight into what customers really needed and made their sales easier to track. This new concept, Doggie Day Camp day care for dogs, would be tested in a store in Pasadena. PETsmart also launched another new concept, PetSafe, the first dog crate to be approved by the ASPCA as safe.

IPO, new services and expansion 1993–1998

In July 1993, the company went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange, trading under the ticker PETM. This infusion of cash allowed CEO Parker to expand aggressively across the country, and also to acquire regional and competing companies.

In 1994, PETsMART Charities, Inc. – now known as PetSmart Charities – was founded in response to the increasing number of homeless pets being euthanized. Since its inception, the organization has adopted more than 9 million dogs and cats from shelters and rescues.

PETsMART started out in the late 1980s with just two locations, one in California and the other in Arizona. The company expanded rapidly over the years by acquiring stores in different markets. As the company grew, it expanded into pet hospitals and pet clinics. In 1994, PETsMART signed a deal with Banfield Pet Hospital clinics to include their veterinary clinics, initially called VetSmart, in PETsMART stores.

PETsMART’s roots as a mail order business date back to 1995. This is a short period of time for a business of this size to grow, but this growth has been steady. By 1996 they had acquired the leading pet products business in North America, and also acquired the leading equine business in the UK.

In 1995, Richard Parker was retiring from his role at Nike. Mark Hansen, who had been CEO of the company since 1994, was named Parker’s successor. Parker stayed on as Chairman while Hansen took on the role of President and CEO. Things started to go south for Nike though in 1997, with losses increasing and an inadequate inventory infrastructure becoming a big problem.

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