October 3, 2019

Press release: Pet Industry Distributor’s Association

It is with great sadness that we share that Stephanie Kaplan, PIDA’s long-time director of online education, passed away suddenly last Friday (September 27).

Kaplan led the creation and ongoing development of Pet Store Pro, the free online training program for pet retailers. For over 12 years, her leadership and dedication drove the success of this program from a concept born in the mid 2000’s, to a program supporting over 6,800 independent retailers and nearly 35,000 individual users in 2019.

Jeff Boyd, PIDA chairman, shares, “The pet industry and the Pet Industry Distributor’s Association have lost a friend and supporter. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with Stephanie over the last six years on Pet Store Pro and will really miss her ability to manage projects, her comforting smile and her witty comments.”

“Stephanie Kaplan was the creative genius behind Pet Store Pro,” reminisces Steve King, APPA CEO and former president of PIDA. “From the program’s inception, she was instrumental in developing the content, designing the training site, overseeing the marketing and generally ensuring that Pet Store Pro met the highest standards of professionalism. She was brilliant, tenacious and dedicated. She was also a good friend who will be terribly missed.”

Adds Celeste Powers, PIDA’s president, “Stephanie’s legacy transcends the online training program she helped create.  She was a unique personality whose infectious laugh and kindness will be missed very much by all of us who knew and loved her.”

We are all terribly saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague. We extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to her husband, John Welk, and her family. No additional details are available at this time.

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