I just concluded a two-day visit to Johnson City, N.Y., on a mission to better understand the tragic accident that occurred in last week’s flooding at our store, to learn from this experience and to ensure that it never happens again.
My first stop was to go to our store. It was painful to see our closed store filled with debris. I felt hollow to see the ghost of a shopping center that was vibrant with activity just days before.
I next met with our entire store team. It was an open and emotional discussion during which they shared their passion for doing what’s right for the animals – and how devastated they are at what happened last week.
We did a lot of listening, and more than a few tears were shed. The team experienced a severe emotional blow, and we’re providing counseling services to help them deal with the high emotions and deep remorse they feel.
The team also shared with us some of their heroic efforts to rescue the animals once we received confirmation that electricity to the flooded store was turned off so that we could re-enter the building. As a result of their efforts, the great majority of animals in the store were saved. The rescued animals were examined by vets as a precautionary measure and transported to stores in the Syracuse area.
I also shared with the team how our Petco Foundation had sprung into action at the flood’s outset to provide help for animals affected by the flood. We have a long history of working with the animal welfare agencies in the Johnson City area, and they appreciate our ongoing assistance.
As we made our way through town, I was struck by the enormity of destruction in such a short time over such a wide area, and we’ve made these commitments to help the community to recover:
- Petco, as a company, to support the community, will donate $25,000 to help with the Johnson City recovery effort for animals in need of assistance recovering from the flood.
- We are supporting our Johnson City associates with regular pay, benefits and other assistance while we determine a timeline for the store to reopen.
- For local customers who wish to order online while our store is closed, you’ll receive free shipping on orders from $25 and up. We’ll also make a cash donation to local animal-welfare groups equal to 5% of your order.
I understand and share the devastation the community feels over this tragic accident. As we made our way through the community this week, I felt a lot of raw emotion and disappointment with what occurred. I also appreciated the many supportive comments from the people we met. They told us how much they enjoy their relationships with our Johnson City associates, what a terrific team it is and how much they look forward to see us open again.
We look forward to that day, as well.
Jim Myers, Petco Chief Executive Officer