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6 Stores Show How to Celebrate a Store Anniversary

Pets+ connects with six independent pet stores to discuss their successful anniversary celebrations.

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EVERY YEAR, PET BUSINESSES across the country hit noteworthy milestones that inspire a party atmosphere.

Furry Tails Pet Shop in Decatur, GA, celebrated its first birthday in March 2016 with an assortment of product giveaways, prize drawings and refreshments.

In honor of its 30th anniversary this past May, Miami’s Simbad’s Birds & Pets created a community event featuring ice cream, giveaways and vendor reps.

And in June, the Blue Fin Pet Shop, a staple in downtown Falconer, NY, marked its 35th anniversary with 50/50 raffles benefiting the local humane society and giveaways that ranged from fish tanks to dog toys.

For pet stores across the country, business anniversaries will almost certainly spark hearty reflection and warm recollections, but there’s the possibility for something else as well: attention, traffic and sales that boost today’s bottom line and future prospects.

“To this day, the fifth anniversary celebration we had at our flagship store remains one of the top five revenue days in company history,” reports Heidi Neal, owner of the four-store Loyal Biscuit Dog Co. in Maine.

Pets+ connects with six independent pet stores to discuss their successful anniversary celebrations.
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5TH BIRTHDAY
Club Canine’s “Hot Diggity Dog”
Portsmouth, NH

The goods: a human and dog-friendly barbeque featuring regional hot dogs; a rubber ducky-filled pool; frozen dog treats; ice cream bar; raffle for dog-themed basket valued at $100 with proceeds supporting the New Hampshire SPCA

Owner Stacey Kimberley Rogers’ party tip: “The most successful events offer something to do, something to buy, something to eat and a thank you for coming — sincere thank-yous, both written and digital, set you apart from the big-box stores.”


15TH ANNIVERSARY

Animal Connection Natural Pet Store
Charlottesville, VA

The goods: Friday night Halloween parade; costume contest for dogs and kids; free dog treats; professional photographer; pet portrait artist; rescue groups; treats for dogs; refreshments; 15 percent off sale

Owner Pattie Boden’s party tip: “Involve the pet community, not just your own store, [and] honor the customers who ‘brought you to the dance.’”


10TH ANNIVERSARY

The Feed Bag Pet Supply
Mequon, WI

The goods: A prize wheel featuring bags of food, toys, treats and more; product samples; rescue groups with available pets for adoptions; demos from a wildlife rehabilitator; “ask the vet” booth; brat fry and bake sale led by a local rescue group

Manager Connie Roller’s party tip: “Our staff wore fluorescent yellow tees branded with our store name and logo so they could be easily identified.”
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5TH ANNIVERSARY

Loyal Biscuit Co.
four stores in Maine

The goods: a reusable Loyal Biscuit Co. tote bag filled with samples and goodies; cupcakes for dogs and humans; photos with a life-sized cutout of Fenway, the Loyal Biscuit Co.’s beloved store mascot; $5 dog washes

Owner Heidi Neal’s party tip: “Anything you can do to incorporate your customers’ pets is a win. Customers will love doing something with their pet and then sharing the word that they got to do something cool with their pet.”


5TH BIRTHDAY

Purrrfect Bark
Columbus, NC

The goods: Swag bags for the first customers who spent $25; major specials on top products; new items; a caricature artist

Owner Eric Mack’s party tip: “Do it big. Your customers will come as long as you notify them. We do Facebook events, email blasts, Instagram posts and also print off something that can be handed out in advance.” Worried about turnout? Attract new customers with a $250-$500 giveaway.
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ANNUAL BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

Bentley’s Pet Stuff
Milwaukee, WI

The goods: cat and dog rescue groups; gift bags featuring booklets, toys, coupons and samples to the first 25 customers; special product sales; ice cream social; pumpkin lattes for dogs; demos from store staff and vendor reps

Manager Nadine Johnson-Barthel’s party tip: “Telling your story is important, especially about how you started, how you’ve grown and how you’re connected to the community, such as how many animals you’ve helped through donations or rescues.”

Pamela Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Spot the senior Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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FEATURED VIDEO

Pet Sustainability Coalition

Pet Sustainability Coalition Presents: Critical Sustainability Strategies for Retailers

This webinar, held on November 7, 2019, is the second in a series from PSC discussing how retailers can establish sustainable practices in their business. Moderated by PSC’s Andrea Czobor, the webinar unveils data behind the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, what retailers have to gain from connecting with these purpose driven consumers, and a new PSC program that makes finding these products easier for retailers.

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14 Inspirations for Your Collar and Leash Displays

Turn unexpected items into fixtures.

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PLUMBING PIPE. LADDERS. Picket fencing. Indies are experts at turning unexpected items into fixtures for their stores. These pet businesses use these and other pieces to display collars, harnesses and leashes, all of which can be a challenge to show well and keep neat.

Firehouse Pet Shop
Wenatchee, WA

Thirty-four wooden crates make up this collar-centric display, shown here with manager Traci Simon. They clip around on rods within, grouped by color, and mix with housewares. At the center sits an antique metal file box owners Jennifer and Allen Larsen found at an antique store.

COST & SOURCE: $15 each for crates at Walmart, $40 for file box

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Wishbone Pet Care
Missouri City, TX

Tammi Bui used copper pipes and fittings to create a perfectly petite collar display, which fits into a wooden stool and spins for easy access.

COST & SOURCE: $30 for each 10 feet of copper piping, $19 for cutter, $3 each for fitting at Home Depot

TIP: Don’t be intimidated by the idea of cutting pipe. Bui says, “I used copper pipe because it’s the easiest type to DIY. The cutter is very easy to use.” Also, don’t make the arms too long, so customers can easily reach collars farther in.

Harbor Pet
Greenport, NY

More than 400 collars hang on the wall at this store! Kim Loper kept it simple when creating this fixture, purchasing pre-cut steel plumbing pipes around which to attach the collars.

COST & SOURCE: $350 at Home Depot

TIP: When using pipes for a neat and attractive display, Loper says to “Clean them really well and spray paint them black. They are black, but the original black will rub off on the collars and stain them.”

Animal Connection
Charlottesville, VA

Pattie Boden Zeller turned a section of deck railing on its side to create this rustic display. Collars attach around one or two posts, depending on size, to keep the selection tidy while allowing easy access for shoppers. Leashes drape over Western-style star hooks.

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COST & SOURCE: $10 for fencing at yard sale, $5 each for hooks at Atlanta Gift Market

TIP: Zeller recommends straightening these products several times a day. “I think everyone should have to work retail apparel and neaten clothing displays at least once in their life. Then they would be respectful and put things back where they found them! Maybe.”

Belly Rubs N Suds
Ashburn, VA

Teresa Hogge hired a local carpenter to build this spacious hutch. Collars and leashes hang on built-in dowels, with harnesses clipped to shower rings.

COST & SOURCE: $1,550 for hutch by Virginia Wallen, $1 each for curtain rings at Bed, Bath & Beyond

Flying M Pet Grocery
Houston, TX

Trace Menchaca brainstormed this eye-catching tree fixture with the woodworker who created other displays in her store. Leashes and collars hang from hooks amid leaves and a wise old owl, with additional collars shown on an adjacent wooden ladder.

COST & SOURCE: $0 for the fixture, as it was a thank-you gift; $0 for the ladder, as it was a dumpster find

Bark on Mulford
Rockford, IL

Plumbing pipe for the win again! Kaye Busse-Kleber found a similar fixture on Pinterest, and her husband, Gordon Kleber, made it for her as an anniversary gift. It’s super sturdy and allows the colorful products to draw the eye. “It’s attached to the floor and wall and is definitely not going anywhere! It’s the first thing you see when you walk into my shop.”

COST & SOURCE: $250 at Home Depot | Practice patience when building such a fixture, Busse-Kleber says. “It did take a while to assemble to make sure all of the fittings went together. Lots of swearing and multiple trips to Home Depot occurred!”

Southern Barker
Lexington, KY

Harnesses show perfectly on wooden children’s hangers, Leslie Stewart says, and hang neatly on a rack.

COST & SOURCE: $1 for hangers at online supply store, $15 for rack at Hobby Lobby

Cool Dog Gear
Warrington, PA

Sue Hepner and Paula Jaffe cut a section out of a wooden-slat bed frame and turned it into their collar display. Hepner says she likes that they can “clip all the collars on it so that the customer can just stand back and look and not have to rummage through the pegs looking for their favorite pattern/color … great way to display, and the peg holes on the tags are no longer ripped.”

COST & SOURCE: $20 for the frame at a second-hand shop

Bath & Biscuits
Granville, OH

Danielle Wilson refurbished this classic cabinet, then added shower rods around which to hang the collars. Leashes simply drape over the open door.

COST & SOURCE: $45 for cabinet at local antique market, $10 each for shower rods

TIP: Move away from slatwall and pegboard, Wilson recommends. “After I brought in pieces like this cabinet to showcase my products, my sales went up.”

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House Of Paws Pet Boutique
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Carly Patryluk hired SaskAbilities, which employs area individuals with different physical or mental abilities, to build several fixtures in her store, including this collar and leash rack, that she then finished with stain and paint. Collars attach around the rods, with leashes clipped to a wire up top.

COST: $200

Sweet Paws Bakery
Gainesville, FL

Curtains rods do the trick at this store, keeping collars neat and tidy. Colleen O’Fallon says, “I organize each pattern together, and then by size. So I have all the houndstooth together and then go extra-small, small, medium, large and extra-large.”

COST: $20-25 per rod and accessories

Natural Pet Essentials
Charlottesville, VA

Tried and true slatwall and hang rails in chrome keep up to 270 collars in order.

COST & SOURCE: $100

TIP: Kimberly Matsko advises, “In order for this to stand out, it has to be kept fully stocked. Empty bars are not as eye-catching or appealing to the consumer. They enjoy having a lot of options.”

Harmony Animal Hospital
Jupiter, FL

Monique Pierpont uses a wall adjacent to her front desk to display collars, leashes and harnesses. She likes the slatwall because it’s “slick looking.”

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Pet Pros Give Their Customers the Raw Facts

From displays and signs in-store to webinars and graphics online.

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MANY CUSTOMERS ARE intimidated by the idea of moving their pet to a diet that contains raw and/or fresh foods and supplements. These six pet businesses use a variety of tools to educate pet parents and to promote these types of products.

Fur Baby Pet ResortMILFORD, DE

This display — and star of a Facebook post — encourages customers to supplement kibble with fresh foods or switch to a biologically appropriate diet. Staff rotate the raw and other products regularly, with Primal, Green Juju, Enhance and Vital Essentials making an appearance along with their brochures. Toy fruits, veggies and eggs add to the educational fun. “Most people come to us for our customer services and knowledge, but even we have those who walk in and believe they know better. (People who read headlines and marketing, but not labels.) These displays are perfect for customers like that, as it’s important for us to educate our customers as much as possible, however we can,” Sherry Shupe says. “These types of offerings create loyal customers who trust us to help make the best decisions for their pets.”

Theo Pet GroceryMONTCLAIR, NJ

Owner Gregori Lukas regularly interviews integrative and holistic veterinarians for his YouTube channel and Facebook pages. In this video with veterinarian Melissa Walker, they talk about how her recommendation to feed a fresh food diet improved and extended the life of a senior dog she didn’t think would live more than a few more months. These interviews drive business to Theo Pet Grocery.
“Educational videos on social media allow consumers to become educated even before they step foot in your store. When they hear fresh food is healthy from a veterinarian, they are more likely to be receptive,” Lukas says. “When a customer is receptive, they are willing to shop and support your business.”

Flying M Pet Grocery HOUSTON, TX

Trace Menchaca launched club:RAW in the fall, announcing it on social media and in her newsletter, a charmingly old-fashioned publication written and drawn by hand and printed on paper. Members get personalized feeding plans, 10 percent off all raw purchases, and can attend a monthly in-store club meeting, during which they will meet other raw feeders and get free samples and sneak peeks.

Wags to Whiskers PLAINFIELD, IL

Inspired by Primal Pet Foods’ Build a Better Bowl campaign, this display illustrates how to supplement a kibble-based diet with fresh and raw foods. Each tier represents a different element of the optimized meal: a high-quality dry food, add-ins from the store such as goat milk and bone broth, and add-ins from home such as eggs and fresh fruit and veggies.“Customers like the visual and think it’s an attractive, colorful display,” Janelle Pitula says, adding that “My staff refer to it when trying to assist customers in adding fresh or high-quality ingredients to bowls. This little display has helped a lot … to have one place to go to quickly to allow people to visualize adding in product to make kibble better!”

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Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage GREENFIELD, IN

One of Samantha Youngblood’s favorite resources to share with customers is the Be Your Best Dog: A Guide to Health & Wellness booklet, written by Dr. Chris Bessent, a veterinarian and founder of Herbsmith and The Simple Food Project. “My customers are thinkers and love to research on their own before they buy. I support this and respect them. This book helps with that decision. It is a resource for supplements because of how incredible the book is written, and for nutrition because she touches on the importance of food in regards to many ailments such as allergies and bladder health. I try not to use this book to promote other products, just because it’s not fair to the company, but I guide them into a talk of food — whether that be The Simple Food Project, raw, toppers, etc. This book has been a game-changer with our sales, and I wish more companies would invest the time, effort and money to make similar handouts. Absolutely invaluable.”

Tail Blazers Copperfield & Legacy CALGARY, AB, CANADA

In addition to owning two Tail Blazers, Holly Montgomery works as a photographer. It allows her to create Insta-worthy images like this one, which she uses to educate followers about raw and fresh foods, and to attract customers to her stores. “We very often have people coming in, asking for specific products they’ve seen in our posts,” Montgomery says.
#petfoodpornwithapurpose

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Haul Out the Holly — and Maybe Even Yoda — for Snappy, Happy Holiday Decor

For a snappy, happy ever after, get those decorations up now.

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IT’S THE MOST wonderful time of the year. Customers are picking out gifts, and booking extra grooming appointments and boarding stays. Best of all, you get to deck the halls to further boost the holiday cheer and spending. These pet businesses shared how they do exactly that.

Southern Barker
LEXINGTON & LOUISVILLE, KY

On any given day, Southern Barker looks pulled from the pages of a decorating magazine. The holidays are no different. Special touches like the countdown calendar pickup truck and faux snowballs add festive charm to displays, those of holiday and non-holiday products alike.

Paddywack
MILL CREEK, WA

How sweet is this giving tree? Customers are able to purchase an item off the tree for a specific forever foster or adoptable pet, with the lineup changing each year with the organization. White tinsel and snowflakes also decorate this store, with Christmas and Hanukkah items adding pops of color throughout.

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The Dog Store
ALEXANDRIA, VA

Forget the Grinch! The Dog Store favors another green creature, Yoda, in one of its holiday displays. Making an appearance in the front window are Santa Snoopy and seemingly every single holiday dog toy on the market. Passersby can’t help but stop to take it all in, and then head inside for more.

Wagging Tails
WEST HARTFORD & WOLCOTT, CT

Pet-centric holiday paintings are a running theme in the lobbies of these boarding facilities. Santa holds a puppy, giving him a candy cane to lick. A kitten plays with ribbon on a wrapped gift. And a Westie looks out a snow-dusted window, with a Christmas tree in the background. All creating a merry mood for clients dropping off their pets.

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Bark On Mulford
ROCKFORD, IL

Festive items mix with year-round gifts to give both categories a boost during the holidays. Dog breed ornaments decorate Bark on Mulford’s Christmas tree, along with those representing other pets.

Paws on Main
COLUMBIANA, OH

This store took full advantage of last year’s town Christmas parade theme: ugly sweaters. It devoted the front window to holiday sweaters for pets, and threw a Snuggly Paws and Ugly Sweater Party. Not only did Paws on Main sell a slew of sweaters, it won the Best Dressed Animals Award at the parade!

Woof! Woof! Pet Boutique & Biscuit Bar
BRISTOL, RI

Treats remain a priority during the holidays at this store, with the famous biscuit bar and bakery cases getting a festive makeover. And look at the bone-shaped tree lights and garland with moose ears. Adorable.

Captivating Canines
WESTERVILLE, OH

This store takes part in its neighborhood’s annual storefront holiday decorating contest. White twinkle lights hang from the awning, helping to light the window displays that feature festive holiday decor. Good luck this year!

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