Downtown St. Paul Chuck & Don’s pet store to close following parent company’s bankruptcy – Twin Cities
Chuck & Don’s, the Minnesota-born pet supply store, will close one St. Paul location following the announcement of its parent company, Independent Pet Partners Holdings, filing for bankruptcy reorganization Sunday.
The Woodbury-based parent company will close 93 stores operating under its various retail brands, including the Lowertown St. Paul Chuck & Don’s at 282 E. Sixth St. The parent company will also sell an additional 66 locations, according to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy court filings in Delaware.
Chuck & Don’s, founded by Chuck Anderson and Don Tauer, opened its first store in Eagan in 1990. It was based in Mahtomedi until it was acquired in 2019 by Independent Pet Partners, a holding company funded by private equity interests that sought to buy up high-end pet supply retailers.
Of the roughly 25 Chuck & Don’s locations in Minnesota, the Lowertown store is the only one set to close, according to court documents. Chuck & Don’s operates another 25 stores in Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin.
The Lowertown store opened in 2019 in the same space that Seestedt’s Carpet and Linoleum vacated after 80 years. A neighboring retail space in the redeveloped building remains vacant; apartments filled two upper floors. The Chuck & Don’s store was a block from the city-owned dog park neighboring CHS Field. It was renamed Chuck & Don’s Dog Park in 2016 as part of a sponsorship agreement.
According to IPP, the company’s reasons for filing bankruptcy include challenges related to early growth strategies, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent inflation trends and unexpected changes in consumer behavior resulting from a potentially fatal heart disease in dogs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began investigating the effects of grain-free pet food in 2018 after receiving numerous reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy. The company and its stores predominantly stocked grain-free pet food as of mid-2019, according to the court documents. Although the FDA has yet to identify a specific link between the diet and the disease, the company claims in court filings that the publicity surrounding the investigation had a negative impact on its business, costing around $10 million.
Per the court filings, Independent Pet Partners’ assets totaled around $182 million and liabilities came in at $215 million.
IPP, which was founded in 2017, currently has more than 160 retail locations among its brands across 12 states. The company is home to four independent pet store brands, including Chuck & Don’s, Kriser’s Natural Pet, Natural Pawz and Loyal Companion. The company offers services including grooming, training, day care and retail product lines that include high-quality pet food.
The Natural Pawz and Loyal Companion pet lines will both be discontinued by the end of the month along with the overall store liquidation process, according to court filings.
As of the filing date, the company employs 1,300 employees: 850 full time and 450 part time. The estimated accrued but unpaid employee compensation is roughly $1 million, according to the bankruptcy documents.
IPP’s filings did not say if any jobs would be eliminated, and phone calls to the company went unanswered on Tuesday.