In today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from Adam Jacobson, executive vice president of Pet Pantry Warehouse on Grove Street. Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: How is Pet Pantry Warehouse faring at this time?
Adam Jacobson: Thankfully, both the state of New York and the state of Connecticut have officially designated pet stores, such as Pet Pantry Warehouse, as ‘essential businesses.’ This means that we are allowed to remain open in order to service the needs of pets in your home and in the greater community at large. These are certainly uncertain times and business is not ‘as usual’ right now. We recognize that our business is essential to our customers pets’ wellbeing and we are working tirelessly to ensure our clients’ pets have everything they need. Many of our animals are working overtime to provide emotional support during the COVID-19 crisis. Serving the needs of our animal community as well as our greater communities at large is keeping us busy.
What are your hours in New Canaan and what is protocol for your staff and customers now?
In order to do remain open responsibly we have implemented a curbside pickup only model, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Call our stores between 10 and 5 daily to place your order ahead of time for pickup. We will happily prepare your order and bring it out to your car when you arrive. Please visit our website for a list of locations and phone numbers throughout Fairfield and Westchester Counties. All orders will require a credit or debit card for payment. Pet Pantry will no longer be handling cash payments at this time. Orders may also be placed at the door with a PPW team member—however, in keeping with social distancing we are not allowing customers to enter our stores. Placing an order in person may result in a longer wait time to retrieve your order than calling ahead. Additionally, we are currently in development of an online ordering platform that will be available via ppwpet.com for a curbside pickup, an alternative to phone ordering. We are fast-tracking this and should have the new ordering platform live some time this week.
What about staffing?
Each store’s staff has been divided into two teams wherever possible, and we are following a ‘split schedule’ protocol. This reduces the amount of staff coming in contact with each other and mitigates the effect if any single employee contracts an illness. At the conclusion of each team’s shift, a full store sterilization protocol is required. This disinfects the store to prepare the next team to enter into a clean environment.
How are you gauging Pet Pantry’s ability to navigate the COVID-19 emergency and remain in operation once restrictions are lifted?
We are going to work through this crisis hour-by-hour and day-by-day like everyone else. We will continually be looking into all available options as they are presented in an effort to remain open and continue to employ our staff. We are just one of many local community businesses that need the continual support of our customers. Please shop local.
How is your staff?
Our entire PPW team has been working their tails off. We have basically had to restructure our entire business in a matter of days. Everyone understands that our number one priority is to continue to take care of all of the animal patrons in our communities. I cannot thank them enough for the selflessness they have shown during this time.
What is your message to Pet Pantry customers?
For over 75 Years, Pet Pantry has been serving the essential needs of our communities. We are grateful to all of you for supporting our family-owned community-based business for so many years and we want you to know that we are thinking about you and your family at this time. That being said, there is a huge need in our communities for all of us to do more to support one another during this crisis. Therefore, starting in April, we are launching a new community give-back program we call ‘Donatable Dollars.’ In partnership with many of our most popular brands, we will be donating a portion of sales on participating products throughout the store. This will allow us to make donations to community funds, food banks or other resources that are serving the community’s need such as the New Canaan Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and Greenwich United Way, among others. This will also enable us to purchase gift cards at businesses that have already been shut down or have seen a significant loss of business and provide pet food to people in need. Every time a customer purchases a bag of food, treats, or supplies that are on sale participating brands will be matching the discount amount and making a contribution in ‘Donatable Dollars.’ This is a win-win for everyone. Our customers get to shop hundreds of items on sale, receive discounts on the items purchased and help us donate within their community. Please continue to support us and help us support your community.
[Editor’s Note: In each daily newsletter this week, the New Canaanite is publishing Q&As with local business owners on how they are faring amid the COVID-19 emergency.]