Petland Discounts, a full-line pet retailer with stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, celebrates 50 years in business this October. Petland Discounts was started in 1965 when Neil Padron opened his first store in Glen Oaks, Queens.
Padron took a part-time job with a tropical fish store when he was 17 years old. After working there two years, he rented is own store in Glen Oaks, which was the founding of Petland Discounts.
“In the beginning he used to bring in the fish, and he used stay up all night dividing up the fish in our first store in Glen Oaks,” said Rose Consiglio, executive vice president of Petland Discounts. “He used to deliver to all his other stores—he did it all. He ordered, he pulled, he packed, he picked up from the airport. He did everything.”
By the fifteenth anniversary of the business, there were 15 Petland locations and 50 by the twenty-fifth anniversary. Now, with 50 years in the pet product retailing business, Padron has grown Petland Discounts to more than 90 stores within the Tri-State Area, making it the largest independently owned, continuously operated pet chain in the U.S.
“We have a few stores that we just signed some leases on, so we have a few new locations that will be popping up,” said Consiglio.
What’s the secret to Petland’s success?
Excellent customer service definitely plays a part.
“We really pride ourselves on providing good customer service,” said Amy Eisenberg, director, public relations and special events at Petland Discounts. “Anytime someone comes in there is always someone to help them. When someone walks in the store, there is always good customer service. It keeps customers coming back. Our customers know we really care about them.”
Additionally, treating the employees well has served Petland Discounts well.
“We always try to promote from within,” said Consiglio. “We like to be able to move people and promote people from within the company. They get their training as they are moving up that ladder. The customers that come in, they like to see the same faces all the time. They like to know who they are dealing with and we have quite a few people that have been with the company for over 20 or 25 years.”
“I’ve worked here for 41 years,” said Consiglio. “You do feel like you are a part of the family, a part of the company. Neil makes you feel that way—he always calls us the Petland Discount family.”
Through the many changes the pet industry has gone through in 50 years, Petland itself has grown but not changed much.
“I don’t know there has been that much change for us besides additional competition coming in,” said Eisenberg. “The company is still the company from the way we ran it 50 years ago.”
“There have been a lot of the big box stores opening up, but we are not them,” said Consiglio. “We pride ourselves on being the neighborhood pet store.
As the neighborhood pet store, Petland Discounts is involved in several community outreach programs. The store helps to educate students in responsible pet ownership by giving them a hands-on educational experience.
The company works with many local shelters and rescues, holding local adoption events.
“We encourage people to adopt,” said Eisenberg. “The shelters are just so full.”
In recognition of such success, Neil Padron was inducted in the Pet Industry Hall of Fame by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2003. Padron was the first—and is still the only—retailer to receive this honor.
Padron is still active in the company, serving as president. His two daughters also work at Petland Discounts.