Connect with us

The Rest of the Story

We're looking for stories that capture our attention.




IN THE PREVIOUS TIP, we started in on the text portion of your America’s Coolest contest entry. This time, we’ll finish the rest of those sections.

Our 2024 entry form recommends you answer four or more of the 10 questions. We’re trying to get to know your business as well as we can without setting foot in it, so we’re looking for specifics. TIP: Every single past winner has answered at least nine and most often 10. While there is a 250-word limit, that doesn’t mean each answer has to be that long.

Here are the questions:

What’s cool about the physical design of your business?

We realize you may be limited by such things as rules of a strip mall, local ordinances, etc., but what we want to know is how your physical design, inside and out, differs from other pet businesses. This can include visual exterior and interior design, flow, and/or any special materials and features.

What’s cool about your team? What cool things do you do for them?

Do you have staff members with any exceptional talents or abilities? Do you train your staff or encourage them to seek out learning opportunities? Do you have an unusual management structure?

What’s cool about your digital presence? (Including website, online ordering, apps, texting, etc.)

Everyone has a website; we’re looking for what makes yours different from other businesses. Tell us about your website, including online shopping and any customer service features, and any other digital efforts such as an app and or texting abilities. Save your social media presence for the next question.

What’s cool about your marketing?

In the age of the internet, marketing can mean everything from a Yellow Pages ad — which is so old, it’s new again — to radio to social media. Let us know what has really worked for you. With social media examples, share your strategy and any efforts that regular boost your business revenues.

What’s cool about your community presence?

The coolest businesses are often integral parts of their communities. Let us know what sorts of community outreach you do, even if it may not be pet-related.

What’s cool about the operational or structural part of your business?

Here’s a potentially wonky question. We’ve heard of some businesses that have novel pay or commission structures, that provide insurance even to part-time employees, that hire high school kids seasonally, that go high-tech when it comes to inventory, that build sustainability into all their business practices. Here’s you chance to fill us in on what might be boring minutiae to anyone but us here at PETS+!

What’s cool about your customer experience?

We’re not just talking friendly service with a smile or helping someone take bags of dog food out to the car. Tell us what you do to make your customers want to keep coming back. Walk us through a customer’s visit to (brick-and-mortar) or interaction with (service provider without physical location) your business in person.

What’s one out-of-the-box idea you have implemented in the past year?

This could be a sales event, a promotion or ad campaign, a business policy, a training push, a sweet new product or service you’ve introduced. And remember: We value success, but we also admire courage. Maybe you tried something and it was a bust. That’s OK. If it’s sufficiently out of the ordinary, we’d love to hear about it — and why you think it didn’t work, and what you’d do differently if you try it again.

One final piece of advice: As you’re figuring out these answers, email the questions to your staff and ask for their input. This is the sort of project that is made to be crowdsourced.

That should just about bring your contest entry to a close. As ever, if you’ve got questions, concerns or suggestions, email us at Good luck!



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular