It was higher than expected.

From July 24-27, SuperZoo 2017 brought together 10,057 pet retail, grooming and service industry professionals at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to learn, shop, network and socialize.

Following the implementation of a new buyer qualification process this year, SuperZoo, presented by the World Pet Association, exceeded attendance expectations, according to a press release. The 2017 show also marked the final event for WPA President Doug Poindexter, who announced his retirement after 27 years with the organization.

In recognition of Poindexter’s status as the longest-serving executive in WPA history and his weighty contributions to the organization and to the pet industry as a whole, the WPA board awarded him with its highest honor, the Matsui Award. The award is named after former board President Jiro Matsui and is presented to honor lifetime contributions to the pet industry. Poindexter will remain at the helm of WPA until the end of December and will serve in an as-needed capacity moving forward. While a replacement has not yet been identified, WPA is currently conducting a widespread search and anticipates announcing a successor in the fall.

“I’m extremely proud of how SuperZoo has grown over the course of my tenure with WPA,” Poindexter said. “I am proud that we have built a reputation for providing industry-leading education and access to products and trends to a growing audience of professionals who are as passionate about animals as we are at WPA.”

This year’s SuperZoo appealed to a wider audience through a variety of new features and experiences. Catering to SuperZoo’s growing global audience, the International Lounge added value for attendees from across the world by offering mobile app assistance and interpreting services in Spanish, Chinese and Korean. An Aquatic Lounge offered a dedicated area for the growing aquatics audience to enjoy live demos from aquascaper Oliver Knott. Additionally, a new series of free Animal Wellness & Retail talks on the show floor provided easy-to-access education for pet professionals.

By day, SuperZoo attendees took advantage of the event’s educational conference, which kicked off with Retail Monday, dedicated to education sessions tailored specifically toward retailers looking to maximize their time and value onsite. The educational offerings covered three days and were packed with 81 education sessions, covering the full spectrum of timely topics and best practices — from retail to grooming, animal wellness to boarding and pet services — while the expo’s show floor featured nearly 1,100 exhibitors showcasing thousands of products for animal lovers.

This year’s contest winners included:

  • New Product Showcase Winners in eight categories (for a full list: http://www.superzoo.org/2017-nps-winners/)
  • #WPAGoodWorks Winners: First – Planet Dog ($1,000 donation to HABRI), Second – Petmate ($500 to HABRI), Third – K. Sutherland PR ($250 to PIJAC). To date in 2017, WPA has contributed $1,225,000 million to support pet industry organizations through its WPA Good Works program. This amount includes all profits from SuperZoo 2017.
  • Pet Product News’ Retailer of the Year: Mutts & Co
  • Tom McLaughlin Super Jackpot Winner: Clayton Muniz, Pet Society (for a full list of grooming contest winners: http://www.superzoo.org/grooming-contests-winners/)

The fun didn’t stop there. By night, attendees and exhibitors benefited from SuperZoo’s host of networking opportunities, which included a “Casino Night” themed Networking Reception featuring exclusive prizes and a private concert by country superstar Trace Adkins.

As the 2017 event drew to a close, attendees were already looking forward to next year’s SuperZoo, which will be held earlier in the year to accommodate a growing exhibitor list with added show floor space and to allow for easier access to hotel rooms in the busy Las Vegas area by having 30 percent more rooms available on property. SuperZoo 2018 will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, June 26-28, with education June 25-27. Registration is expected to open by January 2018.

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