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Success Story

How Pet Valu keeps their employees safe by connecting their security cameras to Solink

February 29, 2024

Table of Contents

"I was recently at a Pet Valu franchise owner retreat in St. Lucia. I was able to remotely monitor what was happening at my store using my phone. My peers were shocked that something like this existed. They all wanted to see what I was doing and how it worked and were impressed that I could keep an eye on things while on vacation.”


  • The previous security camera system was not useful.
  • Shoplifting and inventory shrinkage were out of control.
  • There were a lot of employee safety concerns to address.


  • Solink breathed new life into Pet Valu’s existing security infrastructure and added more cameras for a complete video security system.
  • Reactive and proactive measures can now be taken to reduce theft.
  • Rhonda can back up her employees remotely by monitoring what’s happening using Solink.

Table of Contents

The Client:
Pet Valu

Pet Valu is a leading pet store retailer across Canada with over 700 locations. They operate both corporate owned and franchised locations. Rhonda Sondrol is the owner of two Pet Valu franchises in Tillsonburg and Chatham, Ontario. Solink is currently operational in one location while the other is being renovated and updated.

Rhonda Sondrol, Franchise Owner, Pet Valu

“Pet Valu stores have fairly large footprints. They run from about 2,200 to 6,000 square feet."

She previously partnered with Solink to protect her Tim Hortons operation. After 37 years of Tim Hortons ownership, Rhonda briefly retired before deciding to purchase Pet Valu franchises.

“The franchise model at Pet Valu is surprisingly similar to what the model looked like at Tim Hortons when I first started there 37 years ago. The franchise agreement was drafted with the same core values of focusing on the success of the business while keeping the safety of the staff always first of mind. They really focus on small, family ownership. Most Pet Valu franchise owners have one or two locations with very few exceptions.”

The Challenge:
Build a security system that can protect people and property

Every business needs a functioning security system. Unfortunately for Rhonda, when she arrived at her Pet Valu franchise locations, she was met with outdated infrastructure that was no longer supported by the manufacturer.

“I’ve worked with Solink before, so I know what you are capable of. The first time I tried to find video at my Tilsonburg location was a great reminder of Solink’s added value. When I first looked at those cameras, the passwords wouldn’t even work! So I called the manufacturing company and they just told me they consider the system obsolete so they can’t help me."

Theft is on the rise. In a time of economic uncertainty, this has a double impact on businesses. People are more likely to shoplift and margins are thinner than ever before. Pet Valu is experiencing this first hand with more brazen shoplifting events.

“We have concerns about inventory shrinkage. There have been so many big incidents. We’ve needed to move high-price items like the FURminator so they can be better monitored by staff. I recently saw a person rip the tags off a cute pom pom hat for a chihuahua and walk out the door. I see people just carry out entire boxes of premium pet food. It’s hard to keep up with these events."

Pet value, a Solink customer. Pet valu uses Solink to reduce theft

In addition to loss due to theft, there are concerns about operational issues leading to lower sales. Rhonda operates two locations in two different cities and cannot be in two places at once. She needs a way to confirm that procedures are being followed so every customer has access to the things they need, when they need them.

“When we don’t have a sale before 10:00, I want to know why. Did the store really open at 9:00 like it’s supposed to, or did it open at 9:30?”

Ultimately, business security cameras are there to protect the employees. With the rise in crime, Pet Valu needs a way to protect employees from different threats.

“Another major concern that I have is for the staff. I need visible cameras, more cameras, and higher quality cameras to protect my staff. We had a problem one night where a single teenage employee after closing the store saw a hand come out from the roof! Someone climbed up there, took this copper cover off, and was reaching their way into the store. 911 told her to go hide in the bathroom and lock the door. She probably thought that was the end and I don’t ever want one of my people to experience something like that again."


  • The previous security system was deemed obsolete by the manufacturer. This left a Pet Valu location completely exposed.
  • External theft is becoming increasingly brazen, with some shoplifters going from taking an item for personal use to stealing as much as valuable merchandise as possible to resell online.

Rhonda Sondrol was a long time user of Solink in her previous role as a Tim Hortons franchisee. She understood the value that comes from cloud video security. Updating the security system was a high priority when Rhonda first took over her Pet Valu locations.

“I was one of the first franchisees at Tim Hortons that signed up with Solink, so I already knew first hand the value you bring to businesses. I was shocked when I came to Pet Valu and saw how horrible their camera systems were. Solink was one of the first partners I called."

In addition to the technology, Solink’s customer service has really solidified Rhonda’s choice in cloud video security provider.

“When I first called Solink, I was worried Pet Valu might not be a big enough customer for you guys, but you have been great through the entire process.The installer was fantastic, and you’ve trained me on how to use the system. I’m the opposite of an IT person and call everything ‘thingy’ or ‘doodad’ so the fact that you could teach me how to use Solink really says something.”

The Solution:
An effective loss prevention system

The fastest and clearest ROI from installing Solink has been time savings.

“The time savings are huge. I like jumping on Solink and searching for a video at the Tilsonburg location. It takes minutes and is easy. For Chatham? That’s another story. I can’t wait to finish the renovation and get Solink installed.”

Solink provides oversight. Initially, the Pet Valu staff was worried that a new security system would mean that Rhonda was going to spy on them. However, the security system is there to protect employees from a variety of risks.

“When I first installed Solink, the staff was not happy. It was hard to convince them that the system was here to protect them. However, after some incidents, they’re convinced. Now I have staff calling me and saying ‘Hey Rhonda, we think that person is acting suspiciously. Do you mind watching us on Solink while we go up to see if they need anything?’ I love that I can do that for them.”

A camera captures the inside of a store.

Motion Search allows users to quickly scan footage when something goes missing. In minutes, you can see when something was taken and by whom. However, catching a shoplifter in the act takes a lot more than just the right tools. You also need staff buy-in and training. Rhonda has earned the trust of her staff, and they are helping her utilize Solink to catch shoplifters in the act.

“I’m very lucky to say I see no evidence of employee theft. We had a couple strange returns that I thought might be fraudulent but I double checked them in Solink and they were legitimate. My employees are all honest people. However, external theft and shrinkage are real and ongoing issues. I get a lot of phone calls from my staff now warning me about potential theft. They say “Hey Rhonda, I think the person on the dog aisle just put something in his jacket. Can you take a look?” Sure enough, I can see it happening in minutes and send that footage off to the police.”

The Result:
Better security and operational oversight

There are a lot of great use cases for security cameras that go well beyond reducing retail shrink. However, the system needs to be fast and easy to use for those benefits to be realized. Pet Valu has that with Solink.

"With the Chatham system, finding footage is a very arduous task. With Solink, it’s fast and, honestly, fun to do it at Tillsonburg. It’s just so easy and smooth. That’s really important."

At Pet Valu, two- and four-legged customers are welcome. This can lead to some potential risks. Not every pet is safe around other people or animals. Conversely, not every person knows how to safely interact with animals. Solink allows Pet Valu to review animal incidents to understand what has happened and mediate disagreements.

“We had a situation where a dog nipped at another customer and they complained. We reviewed the footage and saw that the owner clearly cautioned the customer, told her not to approach the dog, and left. The customer stalked through the store looking for a chance to sneak up and give the dog a pet. We know what happens when dogs are accused of violence towards humans, so being able to show what really happened might have saved a life.”

Solink can help with training, too. Because it’s easy to save and share clips, customer interactions, good and bad, can be shared with staff easily to reinforce positive customer experiences and avoid negative ones.

“I had a new staff member training in the dog wash area. The appointment book showed a dog coming in that more experienced groomers have had issues with. I sat on Solink to watch what was happening and then reviewed it with the person after to show her where they might be able to improve.”

Solink is helping with vendor relations, too.

"I like to review how drivers are delivering items. Are they placing the skids where my staff asks them to and taking directions? Sometimes the delivery people are busy and not as helpful as they should be. I want to note that.”

With two locations, Rhonda splits her time between the stores. She had reservations about the managers at one of the locations because they seemed to be unproductive when she was around. However, in another example of Solink being there for the staff, she found that they get a lot done when she is visiting the other store.

“I thought a couple of my team members did nothing! Whenever I am there, they follow me around. Then, I saw on the Solink platform that they get so much done when I am not there. I finally asked them why that is. They said they thought I wanted them to stay nearby. I was causing the issue.”

In Pet Valu’s words

"I think of Solink as an insurance policy. It’s there when something happens. For what’s not an expensive service, Solink provides a lot of value. I’ve never experienced a moment where I needed Solink and it wasn’t there for me."

“Solink listens to me. I’ve worked with other companies that just tell me what I need and then walk away. You guys get to know me and my business and then provide helpful, expert advice. I really appreciate that."

Pet Valu’s three favorite features

Solink is bringing data-driven processes to Pet Valu, and it shows in their favorite features. Beyond security, it is the retail business intelligence that proves most valuable.

Motion Search eliminates the need to fast forward through hours of video footage. Solink automatically shows you all video clips in an area of interest where there is movement.

Easy-to-use interface

Solink’s interface makes it easy for anyone to search and find the information they need quickly. Even for less technical staff, it is possible to log in and find a needed video or piece of information with little help or training.

Mobile App

Solink has a full-featured mobile app for both iPhone and Android devices. Gain peace of mind by being connected to your locations remotely from anywhere. Save and share clips, review footage using motion- and event-based search functions, and monitor your core metrics. With the Solink mobile app, you can do everything remotely.

Solink software is powered by AWS.

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Timothy Warelinked in icon email icon

Solink stands at the forefront of security solutions, excelling in loss prevention and asset protection for businesses. Our content is rich in industry expertise and crafted to provide actionable insights and innovative strategies. We empower businesses to enhance their security systems, optimize operations, and protect their assets more effectively. Discover how our advanced cloud video management system can transform your security approach.