Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Lawmaker: 'Ship has already sailed;' tax incentives unlikely to sway Petco to stay in RhinelanderSubmitted: 01/14/2019
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Lawmaker: 'Ship has already sailed;' tax incentives unlikely to sway Petco to stay in Rhinelander
RHINELANDER - Don't expect government tax incentives to convince Petco to keep Drs. Foster and Smith (DFS) in Rhinelander.

Petco, which owns DFS, announced last week it will close most of its Rhinelander operations and lay off 289 workers.

Last month, former Gov. Scott Walker pledged $28 million in state money to keep a Kimberly-Clark paper products plant in Neenah. That move saved almost 400 jobs.

But it looks unlikely something similar could happen for DFS.


According to state Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander), the company's mind is made up.

"At this point, we think that's not their intent. They do, obviously, just want to pull out," Swearingen said. "It seems like that ship has already sailed, so now the focus is specifically on the 289 employees and their families."

In 2014, DFS, when it was considering selling its business, asked Petco if it would keep the company in Rhinelander. Petco said yes.

"The real gut punch is when they just dropped the bomb like that and let their employees know via the letter, and the rest of the community, that they were just actually going to close up shop with the exception of the Live Aquaria and move on. So, that's disappointing," Swearingen said.

In an email on Monday, Petco spokeswoman Lisa Stark didn't directly answer our question about whether Petco broke a promise in leaving Rhinelander.

"Closing DFS now is a difficult but necessary business decision driven by evolving consumer preferences and Petco's ongoing brand evolution and retail transformation efforts. We appreciate that it has a very real effect on both individuals and the broader community in Rhinelander, and we are committed to partnering with state and local agencies to support those impacted as best as possible," Stark wrote.

Last week, Gov. Tony Evers sounded cautious about giving taxpayer dollars to keep companies like Petco in-state.

"The hope is that those tax credits create jobs and better financial environments so that there is good revenue coming into the state, but there's a balance that has to be there," Evers said. "But we will be checking into that. That's very concerning."

The Live Aquaria department of DFS will stay in Rhinelander and actually double its workforce to about 60. Stark, the Petco spokeswoman, said Live Aquaria will "continue to grow in Rhinelander."

The Oneida Co. Economic Development Corporation plans to meet with Petco corporate executives in the near future.

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





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

MERRILL - By the time girls swim season begins, cool fall weather often makes outdoor pools too cold for the sport. At an early season meet in Lincoln County Thursday, athletes got the rare chance to swim under the sky.

+ Read More

BOULDER JUNCTION - One person died in a crash between a pickup truck and a van Thursday morning in Boulder Junction.

One other person was injured.

It happened at the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway H. The van, which was crossing Highway 51, failed to stop and was hit by the truck headed south on Highway 51. Emergency responders extricated one of the drivers.

The collision is still under investigation.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Northwoods business owners gathered at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Thursday for a presentation on how to become more cyber-secure.

Director of Grow North Brittany Beyer says online threats are evolving, and it's important for businesses to stay vigilant.

"We have to think about the continuity of business now that technology is so prevalent inside of how we do business," said Beyer. "We can't forget [about] it just because we're in the Northwoods."

The dark web consists of sites where people can purchase passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information.

+ Read More

COLUMBIA COUNTY - An investigation clears officers after two men died in a crash following an attempted kidnapping in the Stevens Point area.

Two brothers with similar names, Ter-rance Phillit Simmons and Terrance P. Simmons, died in the crash in Columbia County in late April.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Beginning class at a new school can be stressful. But two new programs in the Rhinelander School District might help with that. 

This is the first year James Williams Middle School and Rhinelander High School will host programs called WEB and Link Crew, respectively.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You don't stop learning when you retire. Nicolet College in Rhinelander wants people who are retired, semi-retired, or even close to retiring to have fun while learning.

This is the 24th year for The Learning in Retirement program. Many people sign up for the classes. There is one person who will turn 100 in two weeks. She helped to start it all.

"We have members from 50 years old, now to 100 years old," said Nicolet College 50Plus Coordinator Brenda Peltier. "She was just spry and excited and she said, 'I started this along with a couple other people 24 years ago.'"

+ Read More

BEAVER DAM - A car drove into a Wisconsin middle school late last night and caused a significant amount of damage.

A gaping hole is left where the car crashed into Beaver Dam Middle School last night.

A 30-year-old woman told officers she got in an argument with her roommate. The roommate drove off, allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: