By David Brand and Christina Carrega
After 54 years of feeding, grooming and helping nurture pets throughout the Tristate Area, dozens of Petland Discounts stores are closing their doors, according to a notice filed with the state’s Department of Labor (DOL).
The closure notice was filed after Neil Padron, Petland Discounts founder and president, died earlier this month from complications of bladder cancer. Padron, a Queens native, was 74.
The Brentwood, Long Island-based business with the catchy theme song employs 367 people at dozens of stores statewide, including 18 locations in Queens, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notices filed on Jan. 18 and posted on the DOL’s website on Tuesday.
“The company filed a notice with the Labor Department so it would be in compliance with the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act if the business does close, however, the family is unsure what will happen after his sudden death,” said Petland Discounts spokesperson Amy Eisenberg. “Neil is the sole proprietor and the family is still trying to figure everything out.”
Employees say they learned that stores would close two weeks ago after Padron died but that the writing was already on the wall.
"They were preparing us for it because it was probably going to happen anyway," said Nastassia Sacco, manager of the Glen Oaks Petland Discount, the very first store..
Petland Discounts opened its doors in 1965 on Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks and expanded to more than 100 locations. However, Amazon and discount websites began to erode the Petland Discount business.
"Mostly online is killing us. Amazon, Chewy.com,” Sacco told the Eagle. “It’s been dead today. No one has come in. And when they do come in, they say, ‘I can get this cheaper online.’”
Sacco said she plans to search for jobs at pet stores in Long Island when the Glen Oaks store — along with every Petland Discounts — closes on April 18.