A sad fact of the pandemic is that we will continue to see stores struggling and then finally succumbing. As if the move to online sales was not enough to keep retail stores struggling to keep afloat, the pandemic has been the death knell for so many.

The latest is Pet Valu; a vibrant and popular pet supply store that so many New Jersey “pet parents” counted on.

I passed Pet Valu 1 million times anytime I would drive up and down Route 35 in Shrewsbury, and would see it brimming with customers along with their pets on one of my frequent trips to Shrewsbury Plaza, a bustling strip mall in town. Sadly, according to a press release on prenewswire, the Wayne, PA-based company just announced that it will be winding down its operations in the United States — 358 stores, including 61 in New Jersey — citing the pandemic as the cause of its failure. It’s interesting to note, though, that many other pet supply retailers were actually thriving during state shut downs since they were considered essential businesses. Plus, so many people adopted pets during the long quarantine periods. People stuck at home were looking for companionship and this led to an adoption boom that fueled sales in many of the other pet supply stores like Petco and PetSmart, not to mention the online pet supply retailer, Chewy.

Unfortunately, despite this surge in pet ownership, it wasn’t enough for Pet Valu. Other stores tried creative marketing ploys such as curbside pick up and drop off as well as a telehealth service that was recently inaugurated by Chewy. Pet Valu couldn’t keep up. According to the release, customers will still be able to use gift cards and loyalty rewards points but will no longer be allowed to order off of their e-commerce website. What’s to become of the retail industry as a whole? No one knows. But add Pet Valu to the growing list of retailers that many New Jersey pet owners will look back fondly on.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi’s own.