Specialties Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. We’re animal lovers, just like you. We’re committed to providing a safe, healthy and humane environment for companion animals in our stores and to setting a standard for pet parents to follow. At Petco, animals always come first, and our people make it happen. We hire passionate, dedicated animal-lovers to work at Petco. Our associates are in our stores every day, interacting with customers and helping them make the right choices to care for their pets. To ensure they’re experts in animal care, we invest in ongoing, advanced training and education for all store associates and managers. History Established in 1965 Petco’s story began in 1965 when Walter Evans opened a mail-order veterinary supplies business with only five associates called UPCO – United Pharmaceutical Company. The first retail store opened in La Mesa, Calif. in 1976 and was an instant success. The mission then was to buy quality pet and veterinary supplies and sell them directly to animal professionals and the public at discount prices. With two stores in California, primary customers at that time were ranches, kennels, catteries and grooming shops. In 1979, UPCO changed its name to Petco to better connect the company with the pet supplies business. The first Petco opened just outside of California in 1980 in Tigard, Ore. Today, Petco is privately held and continues to grow, with more than 1,150 stores nationwide, including more than 30 Unleashed by Petco locations and more than 22,000 associates across the country.