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I Belong Series: Meet Lance, Store Leader

For the past 5 years Lance has been part of #LifeAtPetSmart in the field. As a Store Leader, he helps to lead his team and provide the best care and assistance to pets and pet parents. He took the time to share his story of Belonging with us, read it below!


The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other. To learn more about the “I Belong” Series or to submit your stories, associates can visit PetSmart's Belonging Fetch Page.


Meet Lance | Store Leader

I joined PetSmart in September 2016 as a Store Leader. I was so excited to bring my managerial background to an industry that I was passionate about. I learned the ropes and started to excel. A few months later, a new store was being constructed, and I was asked to take the lead. The grand opening was set for July 17th, 2017. By June, we were in full swing of hiring and training the team.

On June 13th, 2017, I received the call that my mother had unexpectedly passed away in Lincoln, NE. I called my DL, Jason Vance, to inform him; he said, “take as much time as you need.” I didn’t truly appreciate that sentence at the time; my head was somewhere else. However, looking back, he said, “take as much time as you need,” not “how long will you be gone?” or “you have a store opening in a month.” That one sentence was more than enough to know that I belonged at PetSmart.

The next few days were centered around spending time with family and planning the service. Jason texted asking how I was doing and asked where the service would be held so he could send flowers. Again, this was already more than I could have ever asked of a leader and company.

On the day of the funeral, everything was a blur – between getting the kids, music, and church ready. When we arrived at the church and started setting up, we saw the beautiful flowers sent by Jason and another from my old store. My grandma had mentioned how beautiful the bouquets were and how nice of my company to think of us.

Before the service started, I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. As I looked out over the parking lot, I noticed a group of people who looked familiar. Then, I saw Jason and realized that my District Leader drove to Lincoln, NE, to show his support, and if that wasn’t enough, with him, I noticed that half of the district’s Store Leaders also came!

My sisters still bring up how much that gesture meant to our whole family all these years later. I knew I made the right decision to join PetSmart, and that day proved it. Thank you to everyone who came that day and made me truly feel like I belonged in the PetSmart family.


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