Simple sticker makes a store — and its mascot —famous.  

Meeting him now, it’s hard to believe that Anuzzo the Bergamasco sheepdog was once shy.

“He was really nervous around new people,” recalls Cindra Conison, who, with husband Richard Sheir, welcomed the 3-year-old pup into their home in 2010.

To better socialize Anuzzo, she would bring him to work at The Quirky Pet, her store in Montpelier, VT. The dog soon learned that strangers were merely friends he hadn’t made yet.

“Now he lies in front of the door, waiting for customers to come in,” Conison says. “And he loves to have his picture taken.”

THE IDEA 

Make a Pet Store Famous

The extent to which Anuzzo embraced his role as shop dog combined with the attention he naturally attracts as a Bergamasco — a rare Italian herding breed with distinctive dreadlocks — inspired the couple to incorporate him into The Quirky Pet brand.

“If you’ve got the coolest-looking and sweetest dog in Vermont, why not share him with the world?” Sheir says.

THE EXECUTION 

The dreadlocked Bergamascos are featured on The Quirky Pet's stickers.

Create a Sticker Campaign

Anuzzo has his own Facebook page. His image has adorned T-shirts and posters, with his four-legged siblings, Aria and Cuba, joining him on the latter. In 2015, he appeared on a button that customers would get after reaching a certain purchase threshold, but that proved too expensive to continue at more than 25 cents each.

Sheir began looking for a more affordable promotional item, one they could give to anyone who met Anuzzo, whether at the store or elsewhere. The answer: a sticker.

“It’s just a great value, and kids love them,” he says. 

The first sticker featured the shop dog’s face with “Ever Met ... A Bergamasco?” above and “Anuzzo @ The Quirky Pet, Montpelier, Vermont” below. From late 2015 into this year, 10,000 were handed out, including at travel and tourism centers in the state. Each one cost 7.7 cents, a significantly lower price than the button.

Sheir recently followed up with a new design, one that also includes Aria and Cuba, at that same price.

THE RESULTS 

Boost to Brand, Bottom Line

Having Anuzzo’s face and the store name on 10,000-plus stickers — stuck on everything from backpacks to water bottles — has helped business on many levels.

“Our brand has grown exponentially,” Sheir says.

That increased awareness has resulted in steady foot traffic for The Quirky Pet.

“On a busy day, a good number of people come in to see Anuzzo and have their picture taken with him,” Conison says. “We’ve become a tourist attraction.”

Do It Yourself: Five Steps to Stickers

  • Hire a pro! Sheir puts his ideas into a rough draft, and then a professional creates the final sticker.
  • Shop around to find the best price for printing.
  • Regularly update the design to encourage collecting.
  • Offer one to every customer, no matter their age. Adults like stickers, too!
  • Take your store dog and a stack of stickers to events. Anuzzo is a regular at the nearby Ben & Jerry’s factory.
 

This article originally appeared in the September-October 2017 edition of PETS+.