Pet products retailer to employ 1,100 in Hollywood

Online pet products retailer Chewy is bringing 1,100 jobs to Hollywood.

The company says it’s moving a customer service center from its Dania Beach headquarters to the Hollywood Plaza at Park Road and Hollywood Boulevard.

The 1,100 employees will include an undisclosed number of new hires. The move is expected to take place in October or November.

“We’re very excited about our continued growth in the South Florida region,” spokeswoman Roxsanne Tai wrote in an email Friday.

She said the company would provide more details closer to the opening date.

The move means Chewy will become the largest private employer in Hollywood, Mayor Josh Levy said.

“For any city, job growth is critical,” Levy said. “The whole micro-economy in that area will be helped by those 1,100 folks.”

Aside from Chewy’s arrival, is expanding in the shopping center by taking over space that CVS is vacating, Levy said. CVS is moving to a freestanding store across the street.

A barber shop that had been in the center since the 1980s also is moving across the street to accommodate Chewy, the mayor said.

“This is a re-purposing of what used to be an old regional mall,” Levy said. “Property owners are adapting their spaces as the market shifts [to online retailing].”

Founded in South Florida in 2011 by millennial entrepreneurs who met in a computer chat room, Chewy rapidly grew by offering a wide array of products at competitive prices and low shipping rates. It endeared itself to customers with personalized service, including surprising them with hand-painted portraits of their pets.

After PetSmart announced in April that it was acquiring Chewy, a deal said to be worth more than $3 billion, longtime customers worried that Chewy would lose what made it special: a form of personalized service that made pet owners feel that the company understood their needs.

The subject continues to be discussed on Chewy’s Facebook page, with some customers noting changes in prices and the disappearance of the severed brands. But others have said they haven’t noticed major changes.

Staff Writer Ron Hurtibise contributed to this story.

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