Petland Discounts to close all stores, lay off workers

In the wake of the death of its founder, the Petland Discounts chain, known for its ubiquitous betta fish in small glass bowls and knowledgable and animal-loving staff, announced it will close all its stores in the tristate area and lay off all employees.

Founder Neil Padron died Jan. 14 of bladder cancer, according to Newsday. Padron, who was raised in Queens, opened his first pet store in the in the Glen Oaks section of the borough. He later moved the growing company to Brentwood, on Long Island. He was 74.

Citing "economic" reasons, Petland intends to let go 367 workers across dozens of stores and warehouses in New York State, according to a notice filed with the state's Department of Labor.

The company plans to also shutter two stores in Connecticut, affecting seven workers, and 10 stores in New Jersey, affecting 30 employees, according to WARN notices in those states.

The layoffs are expected to happen through April, according to the filings.

The company's website, which long seemed stuck in the 1990s, currently reads: "Our Website is currently under construction." Its Facebook page makes no mention of the impending closures and layoffs.