Prairie Represents 1st Pet Veterinary Centers, Inc. in its Sale to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL – September 15, 2021 – Prairie Capital Advisors, Inc. (“Prairie”), a leading middle-market investment bank, acted as financial advisor to 1st Pet Veterinary Centers, Inc. (“1st Pet” or “the Company”) in the sale of the company to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

1st Pet began when Dr. Randy Spencer purchased American Pet Center in 1989. Over time, as Dr. Spencer’s specialty and emergency centers continued to grow, he developed his vision of 24-hour veterinary care utilizing emergency, specialty and primary care—all working together for the benefit of pets, clients and referring veterinarians. Ultimately, Dr. Spencer decided to combine his three practices into one brand under one name, offering the same quality care and compassion that pet owners had come to appreciate. Thus, 1st Pet Veterinary Centers was born. Today, the Company’s mission is to provide modern, collaborative veterinary care for every pet patient 24/7/365, to offer excellent client service performed with passion and integrity and to educate the community to uphold the best in pet health care. As a Great Game of Business All-Star Champion, 1st Pet successfully practices open book management. To further promote the employee-ownership culture, Dr. Spencer pursued an ESOP.

Prairie worked closely with the management team and sellers, providing advisory expertise and managing the preparatory, structuring, due diligence and negotiation phases of the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “After careful consideration, it was evident that an ESOP met nearly all of my near- and long-term ownership transition objectives,” said Dr. Randy Spencer, Founder of 1st Pet. “Transitioning to an ESOP further instills our employee ownership culture that we work so hard on. Prairie’s team demonstrated the expertise and guidance needed in structuring the right ESOP transaction for all of us.”

“We all appreciate the positive impact that pets can have on our mental health and lifestyle. This company was founded to ensure that our pets remain healthy long-term, whether they require a simple check-up or emergency care. With a transition to an ESOP, 1st Pet can continue with its focus on quality pet health care and its pursuit of being a 100-year-old company,” commented Tom DeSimone, Director at Prairie. “We are excited that 1st Pet chose Prairie to assist them with implementing the ESOP. It was a pleasure working with the 1st Pet team throughout the entire transaction process,” he added.

About Prairie Capital Advisors

Prairie offers investment banking, ESOP advisory, valuation advisory and financial reporting valuations to support the growth and ownership transition strategies of middle-market companies. Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, the company is a leading advisor to closely-held companies nationwide. Prairie was named the 2021 U.S.A. Valuations Firm of the Year by M&A Atlas. For more information, visit


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Wendy Gugora, Director of Marketing
Prairie Capital Advisors, Inc.

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