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Walmart wants to become the one-stop shop for everything — including pet care.
Starting later this month, nine Walmarts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will also be home to Essentials PetCare, a retail walk-in veterinary clinic were people can bring their pets for simple checkups or vaccinations.
Essentials PetCare made the announcement Tuesday. The first locations will be in Fort Worth, Weatherford, Frisco, Anna, Cross Roads, Gainesville, Kaufman, Prosper and Royse City.
The partnership between Walmart and Essential PetCare started in 2016 in Port Richey, Florida. After the pilot location established itself in the community, both companies went on to expand with 100 Walmart locations across the country.
The idea of a retail walk-in vet clinic came from the underserved need. Bruce Newman, the executive Chairman of Essentials PetCare, said a huge number of pet-owning families can’t afford to take their animals to a traditional, full-service hospital because of the prohibitive costs. Sometimes a simple check up can run up to $300.
“So we’ve created a model that removes a lot of the high overhead costs,” Newman said. “We’re trying to introduce a lot of people who typically wouldn’t seek veterinary care to at least basic veterinary care.”
Essentials PetCare provides routine vaccinations and treatment for minor illnesses, like ear infections, common skin conditions and urinary issues. Individual vaccines can cost $35-45 while packages that include all routine vaccines start at $75.
However, Essentials PetCare does not provide treatment for more serious conditions. If your furbaby needs an X-ray or surgery, Essentials PetCare will provide a reference to a nearby full-service hospital.
Another need that Essentials PetCare fills is convenience. You can get your pet checked out while doing your grocery shopping. It also offers portable prescriptions, meaning if the vet writes out a prescription, you can have it filled anywhere you like — including the same Walmart you’re in.
“Now a client could fill (the prescription) there, or they can take it out of the store and fill it online,” Newman said. “Most of our clients find Walmart is very convenient and priced competitively.”
The partnership is likely a move by Walmart to add to customer experience. As online shopping takes a larger and larger share of brick-and-mortar sales, many stores are looking at how they can draw customers to their physical stores, especially grocery stores. Whether it’s in-store restaurants or free samples, drawing people out of their homes with experiential retail is what many see as the key to saving brick and mortar.
Walmart has accomplished this for years by having restaurants, nail salons and eye clinics in their stores. Walk-in veterinary clinics are the company’s latest move to draw customers into the store.
Essential PetCare said the first opening will be on May 22, though it would not share which location would come first.