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NexPet Member Store MVPets Destroyed by Tornado

Fellow members rally to help, and owner Steve Vernon makes plans for the future.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Longtime NexPet member Steve Vernon had his store, MVPets, destroyed by a Tornado that passed through Kalamazoo County on the evening of May 7th. Steve fondly remembers MVPets’ grand opening on April Fool’s Day, 2001.

The Tornado hit suddenly on Tuesday evening at closing, and while Steve was not in the store, his manager and an employee wisely followed the established emergency plan to shelter in the store’s bathroom—neither was harmed. After assessing the extensive property damage, Steve posted in the NexPet Facebook group, and members immediately began to offer help. He connected with the folks at Preuss Pets, an hour and a half away in Lansing, who sent a van and two staff members over the next morning. The staff of MVPets and Preuss were able work together to save almost all the fish from Steve’s store. Remarkably, none of the tanks had shattered, although the room was destroyed around them.

Steve then reached out to two local rescues, Wild Whiskers and Kalamazoo Animal Rescue, who arrived to remove goods from the wreckage, including uncompromised bags of dog and cat food and exotics supplies. They have been able to use these supplies to help with animal relief efforts in the community impacted by the storm.

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Steve had long been considering retirement and takes this as a sign that it’s time to do so. He advises other store owners to be sure to have both insurance and an emergency plan in order; you never know when the unexpected might happen.

Established in 1999, NexPet is the first national pet store association designed for independent pet retailers across the USA. It has since aided in the success of nearly 600 of the country’s largest and most successful independent pet stores.

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