Best of KC 2020: Pet World serves as a testament to the human spirit

Ruby Schmank Plun I022rk Unsplash

Photo by Ruby Schmank

This month, we published The Pitch’s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some of our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2020. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout November. 

Lawrence’s Pet World is a lot more than a place to pick up dog food. With live animal exhibits, wildlife summer camps, and a deeply knowledgeable staff that conveys how they truly care for the animals in the shop, you’re never left with the taste of bland corporatism that marks the Petcos and PetSmarts that dot the burbs. But as popular as Pet World is, it has been very difficult keeping its doors open. Owners Sherri and Tim Emerson dealt with tremendous challenges even before COVID-19 unsettled everything. Back in 2015, their store suffered a devastating electrical fire that not only destroyed the store, but killed many of the animals living there, including cherished birds, snakes and amphibians, many of them raised from eggs by the couple. 

Though heartbroken, the Emersons (with help and no small amount of convincing from the community) rebuilt their store better than before, with dedicated spaces for unique educational opportunities for kids, in addition to expanded animal exhibits and more space for a larger stock of pet supplies. The Emersons had just begun to feel like the sun was shining bright again on their store after the fire when COVID-19 hit. The virus kept their regular customers out of the store, and many of those customers’ orders migrated to companies like Amazon. Yet the Emersons persist, and this year opted to offer socially distanced children’s nature walks on their preserve instead of their regular summer camps, they toyed with delivery services, and as always put the health and happiness of employees and customers above their own needs. Pet World represents the best in local retail. Long may it live.

Pet World

711 W 23rd Street Ste. 26, Lawrence, KS, 66046

Categories: Culture