Kunzelman Receives National Honor for Lifetime Achievement

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio, Oct. 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Petland, Inc. founder Ed Kunzelman has been honored by the World Pet Association (WPA), receiving its Lifetime Multi-store Achievement Award. Kunzelman opened the first Petland store in downtown Chillicothe, Ohio on October 21, 1967. In the 55 years since opening, Petland has grown to include 301 retail pet store locations, in eight countries around the world.

Kunzelman’s love of pets began as a child. A lifelong tropical fish enthusiast, Kunzelman spent a lot of time visiting pet stores while his father made door-to-door sales calls in southern Ohio communities. At 15 years old, Kunzelman began his own business of breeding and selling tropical fish, before going to college to pursue a career in Education. He worked as an English and History teacher until following his passion for animals by opening the first Petland store, located at 31 S. Paint Street, Chillicothe.

Recognizing Kunzelman’s 55 years of service to the pet industry, WPA board member and Hagen’s Director of Marketing Jeff SanSouci said, “Ed and Petland have a simple message, ‘Pets Make Life Better,’ and Petland is always about pets. The Petland mission is to pair the right pet with the right customer; and if you’ve ever walked into a Petland store, you see hamsters, birds, ferrets, dogs, cats, and beautiful tropical fish – all accessible to the customer. You’ll also encounter smiling and educated pet counselors ready to help engaged, prospective pet parents.”

The education and knowledge of Petland’s pet counselors is a direct result of Kunzelman’s background as a teacher. He has made pet counselor training a pillar of Petland’s business model and its success. SanSouci, added, “With a focus on top-notch customer service and trained pet counselors, Petland defines leadership in the pet store retail industry by remaining the largest retailer in the world that focuses specifically on pets.”

“I am grateful and humbled by this recognition from the World Pet Association,” said Kunzelman. “The support Petland and I have received over the past 55 years from our loyal customers, suppliers, pet enthusiasts and so many others, has and continues to be what drives us in our mission to match pets with their lifelong families. For me personally, this has been a labor of love. I am grateful to WPA, our suppliers and my Petland family for their support and dedication to fulfilling a lifelong dream.”

Still based in Chillicothe, Petland and its franchisee partners are deeply committed to giving back to the communities where its stores are located. A few examples of this support include:

  • Assistance in the placement of 350,000 abandoned pets;
  • Grants awarded from Petland Charities for Pets in the Classroom to more than 800 classes;
  • Food and supplies to more than 200 police K-9 units;
  • Visits by Petland staff and pets to more than 3,000 nursing home facilities and schools;
  • More than $1 million raised by Petland and its customers to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital; and
  • Over 900 wishes granted through the Make a Wish Foundation.

To learn more about Kunzelman and Petland’s journey, visit the company’s history timeline at https://petland.com/about/.

World Pet Association (WPA) is the pet industry’s oldest nonprofit organization that supports the business needs of pet retailers and promotes responsible growth and development of the pet industry. For more information about WPA or to become a member, visit www.worldpetassociation.org.

Petland, Inc. is a franchise operation with quality, full-service retail pet centers across the United States, Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, El Salvador and Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1967, Petland is headquartered in south central Ohio. For more information about Petland, visit www.petland.com.


Elizabeth Kunzelman
VP of Public Affairs 
Petland, Inc.

SOURCE Petland