Soaring pet product sales spur job growth in South Florida

Pet retailer has 300 job openings
Posted at 2:48 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 14:49:03-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Since the pandemic hit, animal shelters across the country have reported a spike in the number of pet adoptions.

That trend is also creating more jobs in South Florida's pet industry.

D is for DOG, Inc. opened in downtown West Palm Beach in January. Owner Denise Hull is pleased with the amount of business she has seen during the COVID crisis.

"July was our best month," said Hull. "August was almost as good as July, and that's pretty good. August can typically be slow in Palm Beach County in every industry."

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The dog grooming salon also sells pet food, treats, supplies and accessories.

Hull has been making sure each customer receives the experience they're most comfortable with by offering curbside pick-up and delivery options.

A part-time employee was added to the staff last week, and Hull said she might add a second groomer to her team to keep up with the demand.

"A lot of people have adopted dogs and cats during COVID, so I'm seeing more dogs and cats than ever before, and I've been in this neighborhood for 20 years," said Hull. "We've had over 600 customers since January."

Denise Hull, the owner of D is for Dog, with West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James
Denise Hull, the owner of D is for Dog, with West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James

Online pet supply retailer, Chewy, is based in Broward County and also showing substantial growth this year.

There are currently more than 350 jobs available nationwide, including nearly 100 opportunities in Dania Beach and Hollywood, Florida.

"Chewy is revolutionizing the pet industry as one of the fastest-growing e-commerce retailers of all time," reads a statement on the Chewy website. "We offer a convenient way to shop for pet supplies within a highly-personalized experience that's fueled by superior customer care."

Chewy has more than 17,000 employees across the county.

"All of them are committed to the pet parent community and bringing happiness to customers," said a spokesperson for Chewy during an event for National Dog Day last week.

However, there is still considerable research in determining how the latest trends of pet ownership will evolve over time.

American Pet Products Association (APPA) announced a recent report found a higher percentage of younger pet owners taking part in shopping in-person. Fewer owners indicate they are first-time users of pick-up services to procure pet supplies.

"In a world where COVID-19 information is changing daily, it's important that we navigate this pandemic with real-time information and pay attention to the effects it's having on various aspects of pet ownership," said Steve King, CEO of the American Pet Products Association.

The research also shows that more Gen X pet owners are expressing concern about the expense of having pets during COVID-19, with more implying they may switch brands to save money or plan to spend less money on pet food and supplies than they did in May.

"We're lucky to be among the few industries expected to be positioned for growth during this time, but we must work together, continue the research and remain nimble," King said.

At the same time, APPA reports a higher percentage of Gen X pet owners report they actually spent more money on their pets in the past month.

Click here for information about jobs available at Chewy.