Pet Conglomerate

The largest e-commerce deal in South Florida’s history

By Chris Fleck

South Florida now has technology bragging rights that go beyond developing the IBM personal computer, the first smartphone (Simon from IBM/BellSouth), the largest web host (Hiway Technologies), the first pager (Motorola), application virtualization (Citrix), and mixed-reality pioneer Magic Leap. 

Recently, executives at PetSmart, the Phoenix-based retail giant, decided they needed to move beyond brick-and-mortar stores in a big way, and purchased Dania Beach-based Chewy.com, the largest online pet retailer, for $3.35 billion. That’s larger than last year’s purchase of Jet.com by Walmart.

dog holding a blank and empty tablet pc computer on a red fancy funny sofa , resting and relaxing
dog holding a blank and empty tablet pc computer on a red fancy funny sofa , resting and relaxing

Chewy.com has more than 50 percent market share. In 2016, it had $900 million in revenue with almost $2 billion projected for this year. It was founded by Ryan Cohen and Michael Day, who met in a java coding chat room when Cohen was looking for a web developer for a previous company project. The pair’s first venture was an online jewelry store, but when that didn’t work out as planned, they identified an underserved market for pet products. It turns out they were right.

In 2012, their first year of operation, they sold $26 million in pet food.

In addition to competitive pricing, Chewy.com engaged customers with tips on pets, handwritten thank-you notes, and artist paintings of pet photos sent by clients. Today, Chewy.com employs more than 4,000 employees and boasts a loyal customer base. 

The company’s headquarters are in the Design Center of the Americas building, located just south of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport—interestingly, the same place Magic Leap started. Initial indications are that PetSmart will operate Chewy.com as a subsidiary and keep the operations based in South Florida.

It would be smart to keep the pet passion Chewy.com has achieved, with Amazon only a click away. Currently, roughly 5 percent of pet products are bought online, leaving a lot of upside for a local tech star.

Chris Fleck is on the board of the South Florida Technology Alliance and vice president of emerging solutions for Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), a Fort Lauderdale company that provides secure delivery of applications and data.

You May Also Like

Sommsation Celebrates “Liquid Art” During Miami Art Week

The state-of-the-art wine experience platform is the official Wine Experience sponsor of SCOPE Art Show 2023.

Exclusive Look: DawnElise Hamilton and Jeannette Gonzalez Share Interior Design Inspirations

Two prominent local industry experts break down the key elements that went into these soaring spaces.

Rene Ruiz Collection in Miami Marks 30 Years in Fashion Industry

Its Coral Gables location is open and accepting appointments.

Art Basel 2023 Fashion Extravaganza: Four Days of Style and Glamour

Art Hearts Fashion is a globally recognized fashion show product.

Other Posts

28th Annual Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Attracts A-List Celebrities

Former Miami Heat player and Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning was among the nearly 1,000 guests.

Blue Sea Capital Named a 2023 Founder Friendly Investor by Inc

The private equity firm is based in West Palm Beach.

What Makes This Pair of Dentists Smile

On the road with Tom McCawley and his son Mark.

Tiffany Gonzalez Brings Unique Creativity to Balloons Galore and More

The company offers services in the West Palm, Broward and Miami areas.

Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.