As pet adoptions rise, Chewy is considered an essential business and prospers

With the coronavirus negatively affecting nearly every business in the United States, one online store is seeing financial gains. Chewy, an online retailer of pet care products based in Dania Beach has seen a rise in business since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The coronavirus has forced millions of people around the world into their homes to prevent any further contamination and avoid a higher number of deaths. While this has negatively affected multiple industries such as restaurants, travel and entertainment, online retailer companies like Chewy have thrived.

It has been reported that the number of pet adoptions and fostering has increased as people seek companionship while quarantined.

Melanie Ochoa, senior communications and marketing coordinator at the Humane Society of Greater Miami, believes people are feeling a void in their homes.

“Even a lot of our long-timers have found homes because people have been able to take more time to really explore their options as far as the type of dogs that we have, what their personalities are like and have those conversations with us as far as what it takes,” said Ochoa.

Chewy is the pet-owner destination for online shopping at the moment, offering more than 1,000 brands to choose from. This year, Chewy Inc. stock has risen about 33 percent.

Chewy reported 12.7 million active customers at the end of the Q3 fiscal year 2019, up 33 percent over last year. Active customers include shoppers who placed orders through the site within the last year.

Much of Chewy’s steady popularity is in their Autoship option. With Autoship, customers with Chewy accounts can receive pet necessities such as dog and cat food, cat litter and poop bags on a regular basis or as needed. Shoppers can browse, find their favorite brand and have it delivered.

At the end of last year, The Motley Fool, a financial and investing advice company, published an article that said that 70 percent net sales were from customers who were signed up with the Autoship offering.

Chewy also has a strong customer service department. A 23-year-old employee who prefers to stay anonymous started her employment at Chewy in 2017 as part of the customer appreciation team, known as CAT. The CAT department is in charge of handling welcome, birthday and holiday cards for the customers.

While the employee can’t confirm any actual sales increase, they recently got a raise after years of working at Chewy.

“We’ve tried to get a raise for years, and upper management wouldn’t give it to us. And even then it’s not enough, now we make $1.50 more than what we did,” said the employee.

Chewy also has a fast-growing pharmacy department. With a wide selection of pet medicine and a team of licensed pharmacists, Chewy makes it easy for customers to access their pet necessities online.

While many pet owners have found Chewy resourceful and a great option during COVID-19, some employees are less thrilled about the new wave of sales and having to work as an essential business at a risky time. (Many departments are working remotely.)

According to the anonymous employee, part of the reason the company is operating during this pandemic is its pet pharmacy. The employee says they have voiced concern about the risk of exposure.

Chewy seems to be an exception in Florida as a business that continues to operate successfully. The firm carries out a home delivery system and has a 24/7 customer hotline.

Mariana Vargas is a senior at FIU majoring in journalism. She was born in Bogota, Colombia but grew up in Miami. Her passion for writing led her to journalism. She strives to write stories that bring awareness to special causes and inspire others. She hopes to one day travel the world, writing stories of the different people she encounters.