PetIQ

PetIQ is one of the largest, most successful companies born and raised here in Eagle, Idaho. Passing by their headquarters on Highway 55 and Eagle Road, you may wonder, what is PetIQ all about?

We met with Cord Christensen, Founder and CEO of PetIQ, to hear PetIQ’s origin story, how they filled the gap of affordable pet care, and their business projections for the year.
PetIQ began with an expensive vet bill.

In 2009, Christensen went to a veterinarian and received an extremely expensive bill, an event that most of us pet parents have experienced at least once. “It made me wonder, how could we do it better and cheaper?” Christensen has been an entrepreneur and self-starter, climbing the Albertsons grocery chain, working with major retailers, and starting his own companies. This question sparked his interest in researching the crux of pets and retail.

Christensen found that “Pet Care” was the second-highest-performing retail category during the recession of 2008. The trend was that people were not getting married as early, opting to have pets before kids, and treating them like members of the family.
Deepening this vast discovery, Christensen also realized that major retailers did not offer pet medications or formulas. Here was the business gem, founded in the gap between retail and expensive vet visits.

“We started the company to be the first large-scale distributor of all the major pet medications in both over-the-counter and prescription to the major retailers,” Christensen shared.

Christensen’s small team began by testing a few products in retail stores to test the demand. They found they were able to typically provide 20% to 40% discount on pet medications, a noticeable savings to consumers.

“Once we saw the reaction of the consumers to those savings and the retail reaction, we had a great idea to build this company that would focus on creating a more affordable way for people to access pet medications.”

The business model was to provide pet parents with more affordable pet medications in locations where they go more often. Pet parents go to the vet about 1.2 times a year. Yet they frequent Walmart, Costco, or Albertsons almost every week in some form. When PetIQ started, 95% of all pet calories were acquired in retail, but no medications. Christensen said, “It was very easy to see the pet parents were at these retail locations and would love to have savings and more convenience.”

After three years of success, Christensen and his team started to research how they could bring a portfolio of veterinary health products to retail shops at a mid-tier price point. They built out a strategy to have their own brands and manufacturers. Little by little, this strategy grew to where by 2019, PetIQ manufactured more than 1,000 of their own Pet-IQ branded items. PetIQ has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Utah, Texas, Florida, and Nebraska.

PETIQ opens Wellness Centers across the country. PetIQ has taken accessible pet care further by opening pet Wellness Centers within retail stores.

In 2018, PetIQ acquired a company called VIP Petcare.
They were the largest network of preventative care, walk-in, no-appointment-needed clinics. These clinics were located in pet specialty retailers such as Pet Supermarkets, Pet Supplies Plus, and Pet Food Express.

PetIQ then had the ability to transform these clinics into exactly what the market needed, filling the affordable needs of pet parents once again. Most commonly, pet parents visit their veterinarian for basic care. Whether a visit is for minor emergency care or preventative treatment, such as flea, tick, or heartworm, getting an affordable appointment can be hard to find. The cost of these services at a veterinarian’s office is typically too expensive.

“We felt like this was a huge opportunity,” said Christensen.
Now PetIQ has a significant network of clinics. Last year they treated approximately 1.5 million pets, with an expansive goal to treat 6-8 million pets a year through their clinics.

“We think it’s a smart idea because you can walk into one of our clinics with no appointment and have all those treatments done.” Christensen explains, “Our average ticket for the things you really need to be doing for your pet is $100, which is very affordable relative to the industry averages across the country for similar types of services.”

PetIQ focuses on partnering with retailers to bring clinics inside Walmart, Tractor Supply, or other pet retailers. “We are always looking to put our products and services where people shop regularly, where they can see all the savings they get from that location.”
PetIQ continues to grow as an Idaho- based company.

PetIQ has come a long way since starting on old State Street and a tiny office with only one employee. Now, 13 years later, PetIQ has close to 3,500 employees across the country and is in its fourth location, the newly finished building. The company went public on NASDAQ in 2017 to raise capital and have currency to make acquisitions and build new clinics, which it has successfully done. In 2023, PetIQ projects that it will cross the first year of a billion dollars in sales revenue as a company.

Throughout this growth, PetIQ plans to stay in the Treasure Valley, bringing jobs to Idaho. Christensen was born and raised in the Boise area, attended Centennial High School, Boise State, and has lived here for most of his life. “Having seen other businesses built here, and moved out of state, we were pretty set on trying to make sure we could keep the company based here in Eagle, and be a significant part of the community.”

PetIQ has further outreach in the Treasure Valley community. As part of PetIQ’s new headquarters in Eagle, they worked with the City to create an off-leash dog park on their campus. In addition to helping pet organizations, PetIQ also consistently sponsors the Boise State Sponsorship, Boise Timbers Soccer Club, Meridian K-9 Rescue, and Eagle High School. “We have stayed pretty quiet as we build the business. We’ve tried to be humble, slowly grow, and get to where we are today. I’m very proud of what we have built and all the great things we do for pets and pet parents.”

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