Petco, one of Rhinelander’s largest employers, announced today, Wednesday, Jan. 9, that it would be closing its Drs. Foster and Smith business next month and nearly 300 workers would be losing their jobs.

An official with Petco, which sells pet products and services, issued the following statement in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

“Petco today announced that we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the Drs. Foster and Smith (DFS) business based in Rhinelander on Feb. 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,” the statement read. 

“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,” the statement read. 

“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,” the press release concluded.  

Petco Animal Supplies, Inc., or simply Petco, is an American privately held pet retailer in the United States, with corporate offices in San Diego and San Antonio. Petko purchased Drs. Foster and Smith in late 2014 and announced in the fall of 2018 that it was eliminating 17 pharmacists from its pharmaceutical division.