Petco began when Walter Evans opened a mail-order veterinary supplies business in 1965 called UPCO or United Pharmaceutical Company. UPCO’s first customers were ranchers, kennels, and grooming shops.
In 1979 the name of the company was changed to Petco.
In 1980 Evans opened the first Petco store in California.
In 1988 Petco acquired two pet supply chains, WellPoint and Pet Department, which tripled the number of Petco stores from 40 to 130.
In 1994 the company went public, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol PETC. At this time Petco had 218 stores in 13 states.
In 2002 Petco had 600 stores in 48 states.
In 2005 the company expanded to Alaska, and four years later to Hawaii, giving Petco a presence in all 50 states.
In 2006 private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Leonard Green & Partners took the company private.
Today Petco is #144 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, has 22,000 employees, and had $3.15 billion in revenue in 2012.