Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Petco announces it will close Drs. Foster and Smith, eliminating 289 jobsSubmitted: 01/09/2019
Rose McBride
Rose McBride
Reporter/Anchor
rmcbride@wjfw.com

Petco announces it will close Drs. Foster and Smith, eliminating 289 jobs
RHINELANDER - Nearly 300 people will lose their jobs when Drs. Foster and Smith closes in March. 

Wednesday Petco announced it will close the pet supply company in Rhinelander.


In August, Petco told us it planned to expand its call center and Live Aquaria operations. 

The Drs. Foster and Smith store will close to the public on February 12. Its 289 employees will begin to lose their jobs a month later.

None of the employees we spoke with wanted to go on camera, fearing they would face retribution from the company. 

Petco bought Drs. Foster and Smith in 2015. 

When the founders of the company, Race Foster and Marty Smith, sold to Petco, they did so because they wanted a buyer who would stay in Oneida County and keep jobs in Rhinelander.

In 2015, the Drs. Foster and Smith Internet Marketing Manager told us Petco seemed to be committed to Rhinelander into the future.

The company released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying, in part:

"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." 

Not only will the closure affect those 289 people and their families, it will also effect Oneida County.

The Oneida County Economic Development Corporation released a statement saying it will work with local and state agencies to try to create more opportunities for those who lost their jobs.

"This is a setback for the county. It's somewhat devastating news, but we're going to attack it head on and make the best we can of it and find new opportunities for these people. They're valued employees and valued citizens of Oneida County," said Oneida County Board Chairman Dave Hintz. 

Wisconsin Workforce Development is sending a rapid response team to the area to help with worker transition assistance programs. 

Fifty-nine employees will keep their jobs at Live Aquaria. 

Petco's full statement:

Petco today announced that we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Drs. Foster and Smith (DFS) business based in Rhinelander, Wis., on February 12, 2019. 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. This change affects 289 employees, with their last days of employment varying over the next 60 to 120 days �" all have been notified and will be provided 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. We greatly appreciate all of our partners for their dedicated service and contributions to Drs. Foster and Smith and to Petco.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Most Eagle River Elementary students can take full advantage of their recess. But for Preston Brooks, it can be a little more challenging.

"When we have a lot of snow in the winter, we can't get his chair out here," said Eagle River Elementary Principal Don Anderson. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Dozens of people in Merrill considered who is representing them in city government. A group is pushing to recall five of the city's eight representatives and held a rally Tuesday night to make their case to their fellow taxpayers. 

"It's now or never," said LaDonna Fermanich, one of the rally organizers.

The Recall Rally was held at Les and Jim's Lincoln Lanes less than a mile away from Merrill City Hall, where a common council meeting was taking place at the same time.

"This is nothing personal for the alderman. We believe you're all of good character," said Steve Sabatke, addressing the council. Sabatke plans to run for Merrill's 8th district seat.

+ Read More

Play Video

ANTIGO - A sandbag can serve as a cheap, easy tool to stop floodwater from reaching homes, businesses, and other buildings. In Antigo, city workers have seen their fair share of sandbags lately. The city made a thousand of them. It's something workers do every year, but hope to never use them.

"Every melting season," said Antigo Public Works Project Manager Charlie Brinkmeier. "We never know, the weather changes day to day."

Since the flooding that took place in 2004, the city of Antigo has been doing its best to stay prepared.

"Everybody in this community has institutional memory from the 2004 event," said Antigo Administrative Services Director Mark Desotell. "It was quite an impact on the city. It impacted a lot of businesses."

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Oneida County Supervisor Bob Mott felt sadness as he toured the Doctors Foster and Smith property in Rhinelander on Feb. 22.  Mott knew he couldn't save the nearly 300 jobs that are disappearing after Petco announced in January it was closing most of the facility.

However, Mott is now pushing the county to look at a new option for the buildings and land that could generate money and create jobs.

At Tuesday's county board meeting, Mott submitted a resolution that would form a committee to look at Oneida County buying the property from Petco.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - By landing in New Zealand last week, Rhinelander's Darlene Machtan and her husband checked off another continent in their world travels. They landed and were confronted by huge national news.

"It's all people are talking about," Machtan said in a FaceTime interview.

Last Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, a white supremacist started shooting at two mosques in a terrorist attack, killing 50 people.

Most years, the entire country has fewer than ten homicides with guns.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - The first day of spring on Tuesday greeted us with snow and cold, but a handful of people across Rhinelander did their best to deliver some warm feelings.

Hometown Chiropractic employees stood outside the Rhinelander District Library starting at 12:30 p.m. with motivational signs.  This is the third year the chiropractic office decided to do "Sunshine on the Street."

It was a simple half-hour commitment to spread joy.

+ Read More

MADISON - A legislative committee has decided to allow Wisconsin wildlife officials to lift restrictions on the state's elk hunt.

Current regulations allow an elk season if herds in the Clam Lake and Black River regions reach 200 and 150 animals respectively. The number of permits is limited to 5 percent of the elk population.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: