Chewy (CHWY) is an online pet goods retailer that listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year after being spun off from PetSmart, notes Tony Daltorio, growth stock expert and editor Investors Alley's Premium Digest.

The company has been a focus of investor optimism — rightly so, as investors search for pandemic-proof business models. Chewy’s share price has risen as sales have soared.

In speaking about the pandemic's effect on his business, Chewy CEO Sumit Singh said: “A growth curve that was supposed to play out over years has been played out over weeks.”

In effect, Chewy was at the right place at the right time. But in addition, I like that the company has smart management. And that it is a lot more than just an online store for dog food.

More people’s working lives are now home-centered, and probably will still be for some time to come. That change makes it easier for people to have a pet, which has led directly to an increase in pet adoptions.

In a June survey, the American Pet Products Association found that nearly 75% of pet owners viewed their pet supplies purchases as recession-proof. That is not surprising.

Pet care may not be 100% recession-proof, but pets are very much a loved part of many families. People are more likely to cut back on vacations, cars, and other items before they make changes that impact their pets. Even before the pandemic struck, the pet care industry was already growing strongly.

Over the past decade, the size of the global pet care market has expanded by an average 5.8% per year, according to the research firm Euromonitor.

Chewy has recently jumped on another pandemic-aided trend, telehealth. The pet e-commerce leader recently announced a new telehealth service, called “Connect with a Vet.” This first-of-its-kind service provides easy access to free veterinary counsel from the comfort of your home.

So, what exactly does this service do for pet parents? Connect with a Vet allows pet parents and veterinarians to use the company’s proprietary tele-triage platform to have continuous, licensed veterinary care and support during the pandemic.

Users can get answers to some commonly pet care questions, receive advice, and discuss concerns they might have regarding the health of their pet. They may even get referrals to a local vet or emergency animal hospital. The vets do not diagnose medical conditions, providing treatment, or prescribe medications.

During the pilot phase of this program, over 80% of users rated the service 10/10. And this tele-triage service is free—at least, it is for customers subscribed to the Chewy’s popular autoship program. This program is responsible for nearly 70% of its net sales.

Connect with a Vet was initially launched in Florida and Massachusetts in May. Chewy has now expanded it to over 35 states as its nationwide rollout continues.

It is likely that a rise in pet adoption among millennials throughout the coronavirus pandemic will be a continuing driving factor powering Chewy’s business model. And there is definitely more room for growing the business. After all, 37% of pet owners cited Chewy as their preferred e-commerce platform for pet supplies—but what about the rest?

Add in Chewy’s new pet telehealth angle and you have a five-star stock. The recent weakness in the stock price is just a good opportunity to buy or add to a position. Buy Chewy at any price up to $80 a share.

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