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Independent Pet Retailer Group NexPet Assists Owner of Michigan Pet Store Destroyed by Tornado

By Pet Age Staff//May 24, 2024//

Independent Pet Retailer Group NexPet Assists Owner of Michigan Pet Store Destroyed by Tornado

By: Pet Age Staff//May 24, 2024//

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Longtime NexPet member Steve Vernon had his indie pet store, MVPets, destroyed by a tornado that passed through Kalamazoo County on the evening of May 7. The tornado hit suddenly on Tuesday evening at closing. While Vernon was not in the store, his manager and an employee wisely followed the established emergency plan to shelter in the store’s bathroom — neither person was harmed.

After assessing the extensive damage done to the property, Vernon posted the news to the NexPet Facebook group, and members immediately began to offer their help. He contacted the team at Preuss Pets, an hour and a half away in Lansing, Michigan, and they sent a van and two staff members over the next morning. The combined team of MVPets and Preuss were able work together to save almost all the fish from Vernon’s store. Remarkably, none of the tanks had shattered, although the room that they were kept in was completely destroyed.

Vernon then reached out to two local rescues, Wild Whiskers and Kalamazoo Animal Rescue, who arrived to remove goods from the wreckage. This included uncompromised bags of dog and cat food along with supplies for exotic pets. They have been able to use these supplies to help with animal relief efforts in the local community that was impacted by the storm.

After having opened MVPets on April Fool’s Day, 2001, Vernon has been considering retirement and, according to NexPet, he takes this as a sign that it’s time to do so. He advises other store owners to be sure to have both insurance and an emergency plan in order; you never know when the unexpected might happen.

Established in 1999, NexPet is the first national pet store association designed for independent pet retailers across the U.S.A. It has since aided in the success of nearly 600 of the country’s largest and most successful independent pet stores.


(Photos courtesy Steve Vernon, MVPets)