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Editor's Note

Better Buying, Thanks to Peers

Here’s to the readers willing to share with the world what works for them.

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EVERY ISSUE IN PETS+, we bring you features designed to help you make better buying decisions, so you can sell more products and services to your customers.

Our Hot Sellers section (page 18) asks Brain Squad members to tell us what sold well in the previous month and why.

Our Favorite Sellers mini-column (page 17), gives space for one reader to share his or her favorite product to sell — and, importantly, why.

Both allow real retailers and service providers to share what works for them and to give credit to the suppliers or manufacturers where it’s due.

We believe there are no better endorsements of products or services than those from people who are in the business of dealing with end consumers every day and of knowing what they need and what suits them best.

In this issue’s Big Story, “Brands Indies Love” (page 32), we take that belief a step further.

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We asked readers to tell us the suppliers who give them the most support — companies that view retailers as partners, not simply as conduits for their products or as accounts in a spreadsheet.

We also asked manufacturers to tell us ways in which they help and stand behind their wholesale customers.

I should point out here that we list these companies regardless of whether they spend their advertising dollars with us — a reminder of our editorial golden rule we have stood by since our first issue: If a story doesn’t help American pet business owners sell more, manage better, or even just sleep easier at night, it doesn’t go in PETS+.

The companies listed in “Brand Indies Love” is by no means exhaustive. We hope to revisit this subject in the future, and we invite readers and suppliers alike to alert us of great things they are doing.

Meantime, see you at Global! Stop by our booth — 4039 — and tell us what you’re buying in person.

Best wishes for your business,

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

  1. Build in more time for tax prep this year. It may take longer due to the new tax law and lingering effects of the shutdown. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 14)
  2. For even more marketing inspiration, download the 2019 PetPR.com/FWVFetching calendars. (Service Shorts, page 28)
  3. Don’t normally sell online? Try a one-day online certificate sale. (Hot Sellers, page 18)
  4. Running late today? A dozen donuts is worth 1,000 apologies. (Tip Sheet, page 50)
  5. If you haven’t raised your service prices in a year or more, it’s time for some research. (Columns, page 54)

Ralf Kircher is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. He has worked with SmartWork Media since 2006, and is the busy father of a son and three Jack Russells.

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Editor's Note

Our Resolutions Include a New Look

With the launch of a new website and a refreshed design, we’re ready for 2019.

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NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK. You may notice the results of our own New Year’s resolution in the following pages. We have refreshed and updated the design of PETS+ in order to make our business-building advice even easier to consume and digest. (We like to think of ourselves as pet business nutritionists!)

Look out for new bells and whistles, like “Favorite Sellers” on our Products+ cover (page 13), in which we ask Brain Squad members what one product they find themselves recommending over and over again. We want readers to have the ability to give a shout out to those companies that not only manufacture great products for independent pet businesses but that also stand behind, even partner with, small businesses, recognizing how important they are to pet-owning consumers.

In our new design, you will see a lot more mentions of our companion website, petsplusmag.com — one of our other New Year’s resolution projects. If you haven’t been to our website in the past few weeks, you’re in for a surprise: We redesigned and rebuilt it from the ground up. You’ll find a vibrant, easy-to-navigate homepage, complete with news, favorite magazine features, photo galleries and educational videos. You’ll also find extra content we just didn’t have room for in the pages of PETS+.

And while it’s great that it’s so easy to search and navigate on a desktop computer, just wait until you try it on your mobile device. It’s going to give your kids another reason to remind you: No phones at the dinner table!
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We’re excited about the projects we have in store for the new year, and we’re encouraged to hear bullish predictions from our readers. Be sure to read some of those — and the overflow online — on page 8.

Best wishes for your business,
 
ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Do Today

  1. Scour Craigslist for a real bakery case for your decorated biscuits. (Hot Sellers, page 14)
  2. Offer a seasonally themed scent-of-the-month spa package. (Hot Sellers, page 14)
  3. Buy discounted holiday cards now to send to your best customers in December. (The Big Story, page 25)
  4. Host a clearance sale with a “detox” theme. (The Big Story, page 25)
  5. Help your customers achieve their pets’ resolutions with a free weigh station. (Tip Sheet, page 38)

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Editor's Note

Live Your Life Like a Pet Business Superhero

This month, we give eight pet pros the whole superhero-in-a-cape comic-book treatment.

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SHAWNA SCHUH hits it right on the mark in her column this issue (page 44), when she tells us “Your life is like a novel.” Surrounding that statement, she makes a case for telling the story of yourself and your business in the fashion of a binge-worthy TV series — one so engaging, you can’t help but keep coming back for more.

She’s right: Your life is like a novel. So’s mine. So’s that guy’s across the street. It’s all in finding the right way to look at it and tell the story. Often, though, we’re so in the thick of things, it’s hard to see it that way.
It’s in that same spirit of stepping back from the mundane to view our lives, workdays and businesses from a different — even fantastic — perspective that we bring you this issue’s Big Story: “The Super 8.”

Ask any of the eight featured pet pros whether they think what they do daily is worthy of the whole superhero-in-a-cape comic-book treatment, and they’d probably just shrug it off. (Isn’t that just like a superhero for you?)
But by the PETS+ way of thinking, that’s being far too modest.

We think what every one of you is doing every day deserves the same sort of recognition, the same view from a different perspective and the same go-get-’em pat on the back.

Here at PETS+, we received a piece of news recently that had a similar effect on us.

Just as we were wrapping up our second year of publication, we received word that our February 2018 issue took gold in the General B2B category of the Folio: Eddie Awards for magazine excellence. (In silver and bronze positions were two magazines that have been around a total of 180 years.) And, senior editor Pamela Mitchell scored two honorable mentions for stories she wrote this year.

Does that make us cape-worthy? Maybe not so much as The Listener (page 34) or Super Pet Food Man (page 36), but we’re hoping binge-worthy, at least.

Wishing you the best in business,

 

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Do Today

  1. Dec. 21 is Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, and we’re envisioning you and your staff in awful sweaters, overseeing a crowd of pets and their owners in a pageant for the ugliest. (Calendar, Page 10)
  2. The perfect holiday season sales opener? “Does your dog have a present under the tree for Christmas?” … “No?! Well don’t be a Grinch! Let’s find them something special.” (To-Do List, Page 12)
  3. Bundle broken treats from your bar in individual bags, priced at $1.99. (Hot Sellers, Page 16)
  4. Cat food has the same margins as dog food but takes up less space. Expand your offerings. (Benchmarks, Page 46)
  5. Try a pet-name-of-the-day promo to lure in customers. (Tip Sheet, Page 53)

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Editor's Note

Two Times a Month, See PETS+ Come Alive

Don’t miss our webinars, happening twice every month.

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Have you ever wanted to talk with someone you read about in a magazine? Maybe you read a story, and it prompted a question based on your situation. Or you just wanted to hear more from that person.

At PETS+, we strive to make every story leave no question unanswered. But we know our readers are in the trenches every day, facing unique challenges and questions that even we can’t dream of.

With that in mind, we — along with PETS+ columnist and Pet Boss Nation’s Candace D’Agnolo — created PETS+ Live!

Some may call it a webinar. Those in the know think of it as an online show in which everyone has a voice.

In September, Candace will bring alive two stories from this issue: Her guest on Sept. 5 will be Trace Menchacha, owner of Flying M Feed Co., this month’s featured Cool Store (page 54). And on Sept. 19, six pet business owners featured in this month’s Big Story (page 26) will be on camera to dive deeper into how their past careers have shaped their current roles.

PETS+ Live! marks a year of experimentation in the medium of online shows this month. Past topics have delved into CBD, management issues, hiring, firing, inventory and more.

Sound a lot like PETS+ magazine? We like to think of it as a way for the magazine to come alive a couple of times a month to give you the chance to ask burning questions and hear straight from our sources. Find out the latest month’s lineup of PETS+ Live! on our online highlights page (page 9) in every issue, and sign up for our bulletins at petsplusmag.com to receive invitations to shows.

If you can’t make it, no worries: You can always watch the replays at petsplusmag.com/education.

And if you still have questions, my email is below. I’ll answer any question — or try to find you an answer — no matter your schedule.

Wishing you the best in business,

 

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com
Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Try Today
  1. Share a list of beach do’s and don’ts with your customers for those last days of summer. (Calendar, Page 10)
  2. Offer regional sports team branded pet merchandise during football season. (To-Do List, Page 11)
  3. Pitch a story on CBD to the local press. (Hot Sellers, Page 16)
  4. Ensure your business name, address and phone number are identical in all internet listings. (Tip Sheet, Page 42)
  5. Peel Post-It Notes right — that is, from the right, not the bottom — to keep them from curling. (Tip Sheet, Page 42)

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