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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Chewy.com - PetSmart Comes; Cat Food Vendors Go

Orijen dry cat food is no longer available on Chewy.com
Looking online for Orijen or Acana cat food? Tell your mouse to skip past Chewy.com. Champion Petfoods, the manufacturer of both brands, is leaving Chewy, citing its acquisition by PetSmart.

Other companies to part ways with the online retailer since the PetSmart acquisition are Fromm Family Foods and Tuffy's Pet Foods, the makers of Pure Vita and other brands.

In a note to customers on its Facebook page, Fromm says it's a "fifth generation family owned-and-operated company with a long history of selling our products exclusively to independent pet retailers.

"We believe our products are best sold by retailers who know our product and can offer pet parents what’s right for their specific dog or cat," the note adds. "As a result of Chewy’s sale to PetSmart, they are no longer an authorized retailer of Fromm Products."


Champion takes its support of independent retailers a step further by pointing out on its website that PetSmart (add Chewy here), Amazon, Walmart (which owns Jet.com) and eBay are not authorized Orijen or Acana dealers.

But while the websites themselves are not authorized dealers, many of the cat products available on Amazon, Jet.com and, of course, eBay are sold by independent retailers.


Supporting Brick And Mortar Stores?

It seems that independent retailer can mean different things to different people. Despite its size and predatory pricing practices, Fromm, Champion and Tuffy's considered Chewy an independent retailer until it was acquired by PetSmart. Pet Valu is a large company with brick and mortar stores, but are it franchisees independent retailers?

In it's blog, Tuffy's makes no bones about nudging consumers towards locally owned brick and mortar pet supply stores, where you'll find in-store promotions, free samples and sales associates with in-depth product knowledge. Some offer delivery services, Tuffy's blog points out, and some have their own e-commerce websites. 

But most don't. And for many of us, the convenience of shopping online and not having to drag heavy bags full of cat food into the house are more important than all the in-store promotions and coupons in the world.

So while some vendors may be going, I don't see Chewy's customers (I'm not one of them) leaving anytime soon. It's just too easy to let your mouse do the walking and the FedEx driver do the heavy lifting. 

That said, when our local independent retailers offer online shopping and affordable shipping, I'll be right there. 

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