Neeps Sold to Doctors Foster and Smith

May 02, 2007 2:23 AM  By

Pet supplies cataloger Doctors Foster and Smith is acquiring pet products Web merchant Neeps for an undisclosed price. The deal includes TheFerretStore.com, ActiveK9.com, PetCareCentral.com, RabbitCentral.com, CritterStore.com, KittyStore.com, TheFerretStoreForums.com, and FerretFacts.com Websites.

The sale allows Rhinelander, WI-based Doctors Foster and Smith the opportunity to expand its small pet product line by more than 600 items, including the Superior Choice line of ferret diets sold exclusively through TheFerretStore.com.

Founded in 1994 by Scott Sanfilippo and Joseph Palko, Wilkes Barre, PA-based Neeps previously operated 18 pet supply Websites; it had already closed FerretMart.com, QualityDogTreats.com, BuyDingo.com, BuyBeefeaters.com, AnimalCages.com, BuyOutwardHound.com, NeepsWholesale.com, HealthyPetStore.com, MyLittleK9.com, and MyFreehamster.com.

Sanfilippo says that he and Palko decided that the time was right to sell their pet supply business and focus on their Web development company Solid Cactus. “We formed [Solid Cactus] in 2001 with two employees, and today we’re near 100,” Sanfilippo tells MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT. “Our services and product offering keep growing as does our customer base. In order to focus on this business, both Joe and I needed to devote our full time and attention to it. So in an effort to grow one company, we decided it was time to sell another.”

TheFerretStore.com–one of the first e-commerce sites on the Internet–is a “very specialized niche,” Sanfilippo says, and its customers are extremely loyal and dedicated to their pets. “Having a strong foothold in this market, TheFerretStore.com was the leader in supplying ferret owners with their supplies,” he adds. “Doctors Foster and Smith saw this and the potential that it has to be even bigger and better, and their plans are to make it bigger and better. It’s a logical fit for them and it enables them to take an extremely well recognized brand name and build off it and really expand their product offering and become the leading supplier of ferret products.”

Matt Stelter, assistant manager of Internet marketing for Doctors Foster and Smith, says the deal “appears to be a perfect fit. This type of business is educational and interactive, and is fostered to the ferret owner and ferret enthusiasts. There is a lot of focus on education, which is a major focus for Foster and Smith as well. All our catalogs have a strong focus on that, which dovetails very nicely with a lot of our core beliefs.”