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Celebrate National Pet Day in a Big Way … and More April Events

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This year, two holidays — EASTER and APRIL FOOLS’ DAY — combine into one. The possibilities are endless for your annual dog-friendly Easter Egg hunt.

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PLAN YOUR EPITAPH DAY is a good day to think of the big picture, like your standing in your community and what you want to be remembered for. Do this exercise with a mentor who has achieved some of the things you dream of achieving. 

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NATIONAL PET DAY is one of the more important days on the calendar for pet business owners. How about you bring a professional pet photographer — or two, or three — to your store to offer your customers discounted portrait sittings with their favorite animal? Call it “Pet-Portrait-Palooza.”

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16 Never done WEAR YOUR PAJAMAS TO WORK DAY? Give it a try. Powerful side benefit: It’s hard to get truly upset with a person once you’ve seen them in their long johns.

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18 On COLUMNISTS DAY, take a few minutes to reach out to the hard-working folks at your favorite media outlets (especially, ahem, those in your favorite trade publication) to tell them how their work impacts you. For local columnists or bloggers, consider a personalized discount on products, grooming or training. It could be a good publicity opportunity.

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21 It’s BULLDOGS ARE BEAUTIFUL DAY. And even if you feel that this breed is better looking on the inside, it’s a good day to highlight bulldog merch or offer discounted grooming  to bulls. 

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22 Remind customers on EARTH DAY how they can be friendlier to this big blue marble of ours. You’ll find a large number of ideas at ppmag.us/earthday. 

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23 It’s TALK LIKE SHAKESPEARE DAY — a new made-up holiday from the same folks who brought us Talk Like a Pirate Day. To get into character, imagine yourself ordering a jar of Grey Poupon. Add a few thees, thys and thous. Start adding the suffix “-est” to random words without concern to whether they are nouns, verbs or adverbs. There you go, you’re ready to star in Hamlet.

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23 On LOST DOG AWARENESS DAY, familiarize yourself with the group LostDogsofAmerica.org and help missing dogs reunite with their owners.

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26 Today, tack on a makeshift sign that says “& Son/Daughter” to your shingle out front because it’s TAKE OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO WORK DAY. (Sneaky sales-boosting tactic: Whenever a customer comes in with an animal, coach your sweet little girl to say, with an adorable lisp, “Mommy, that cat/dog looks pwetty.”)

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29 Today is NATIONAL PET PARENTS DAY. What is this — a day for pets to buy presents for their parents? Because we gotta tell you, it isn’t likely. So honor the pet parents who come in your store today on social media, praising how well they care for their animals.


MORE APRIL EVENTS

Apr 1-7 is International Pooper Scooper Week

Apr 6 is National Siamese Cat Day. Spoil them all you want. They won’t care.

Apr 25 is International Guide Dogs Day. Tip of the hat to these canine heroes.

Apr 27 is Hairball Awareness Day. Attack the ack.

Apr 28 is Go Birding Day. You know what to do.

Apr 28 is World Veterinary Day. Send flowers or a bottle of wine to a few local veterinarians.

Apr 30 is National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. A worthy cause.


 This article originally appeared in the April 2018 edition of PETS+.

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Heel, ye! Heel ye! February is Dog Training Education Month

See what February has for you!

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1 Dental disease is the most common major health problem of cats and dogs today, with an estimated 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats suffering from some degree of gum disease by the age of 3. Yet it’s something most pet parents do very little to ward off. Help get the word out about preventative actions during National Pet Dental Health Month while sharing what products and services you offer.

2 The Super Bowl is as much a test of a business’s advertising acumen as it is a sporting event. Most Valuable This or That, offers to return the cost of a purchase if a certain point spread is breached, Souper Bowl charity drives … It goes without saying your pet mascots should be kitted up for the big game. Make sure you’re ready, too. America will be watching.

2 OK, here we go again (and again, and again …). It’s Groundhog Day, and that celebrated if unreliable meteorologist Punxsutawney Phil will emerge today to predict if winter might meet an early end. The unspoken truth of this 134-year-old tradition is to think as if you were living in backwoods Pennsylvania in 1886, and your nearest neighbor is 12 miles away and there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground … you’d be looking for any excuse to have a party or a promotion. Perhaps something like, “It’s Groundhog Day. Specials at 2015 prices!”

10 The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show gets under way at Madison Square Garden, offering the perfect peg for a “pupperware” party. Team up with a local jeweler to bring together your high-end pet owners with some of the jeweler’s best-in-class pet jewelry.

14 Participation in Valentine’s Day has been steadily declining for years, with a few exceptions, one of which is people who consider their pet to be a love of their life. Pet-related gift buying is expected to get close to $1 billion this year, which buys a lot of heart-shaped treats. ($7 seems to be the sweet spot for pet gift purchases on V-Day, according to the National Retail Federation).

21 “To do two things at once is to do neither.” So said Publilius Syrus about 100 years before Jesus Christ was born. If the ancient Romans understood that, you’d think we’d have a better grasp on it now. On SINGLE TASKING DAY, choose one important task to complete. That other “urgent” stuff will take care of itself.

22 Fire hydrants, squirrels and telephone poles … the things that interest your dog are likely to be different than what’s on your mind as you wander your neighborhood. But that’s the great thing about a stroll with Fido. You both get exercise and the chance to ponder random objects and random thoughts. On Walking the Dog Day, invite customers to join you, too. Few things are as beneficial as a daily walk.

23 This year, go big on INTERNATIONAL DOG BISCUIT APPRECIATION DAY. Get in touch with vendors to arrange a wide selection of dog biscuits that your customers’ pets can sample. Laying on some wine and cheese for customers to sample probably wouldn’t hurt either. What’s better than hanging out with like-minded people in a pet store?

29 LEAP YEAR DAY only comes every four years, so jump on this sweet little marketing op. Offer discounts to those leaplings (pet or human) who have the fortune or misfortune to have been born on this calendar anomaly. Get out your frog- or rabbit-oriented promotions and enjoy the bounce in sales from this extra selling day. Hoppy Hour, anyone?

MORE EVENTS

Feb. 1: Heel, ye! Heel, ye! It’s Dog Training Education Month.
Feb. 2: Hedgehog Day. Never mind Kylie Jenner. These marmots are the real stars of Instagram. Join in the social media fun today.
Feb. 10: It’s the Oscars — best performance by a pet in a social media feed goes to … (Ask your customers for their nominations).
Feb. 15: The Great Backyard Bird Count is Feb. 15-17. Submit your findings at birdcount.org.
Feb. 26: It’s Spay Day USA, plus Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. Spread the message.

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From Mutt Day to Weight Loss Day, December and January Calendar Events You Should Note

Holidays holidays!

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DECEMBER

2 Cider Monday! We like this date: It’s an invitation to shoppers to visit a real store and touch real products and be greeted with a warm cup of cider. First observed by Toadstool Bookshop in New Hampshire, it offers a delightful twist on Cyber Monday, which kicks off the online shopping season today.

JANUARY

1 Too many people think of new year’s resolutions as if they were prohibitions. In 2020, forget the things you want to stop doing and fill your list with goals that excite you. Learn to speak Spanish. Fully utilize your POS system. Don’t worry about how you’re going to achieve these goals. You’ll find a way.

2 National Mutt Day, also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, is designed to raise awareness about the great majority of dogs — those of uncertain origins. Ask your customers to share how they will be celebrating National Mutt Day with their beloved pooches.

11 Two weeks to go until Christmas. Time to hang those stockings. This year, take inspiration from Just For Paws’ “Stocking Stuffer Extravaganza.” The grooming salon based in St. Charles, IL, hands out Christmas stockings to customers and gives them 15 percent off anything they can stuff in the big sock. It’s a great way to leverage the festive-season shopping mood to move a lot of goods at a marginal discount.

22 What does Old Man Winter have up his sleeve this year? Tempt your customers to make a bet with your own snow promotion — a percentage point discount for every inch that falls in the week before Christmas.

31 Farewell, 2019. NEW YEAR’S EVE means “Auld Lang Syne,” well-deserved toasts to your hard work and success this year … and resolutions for 2020. Think big (Best Year evah!) and think small (eat more fish oil, floss daily, join the PETS+ Brain Squad). It’s going to be a terrific year.

6 Wheel of Fortune, which premiered on this day in 1975, is a format Americans never seem to tire of. That’s also the experience of Wags to Whiskers in Plainfield, IL, which rolls out its own Wheel of Fun every year. “Clients get to spin a wheel for fantastic discount and free product opportunities,” explains owner Janelle Pitula. Do your own “spin” on the concept to mark Wheel’s 45th birthday.

16 National Weight Loss Day is held on Jan. 16 to mark the date most people start giving up on their new year’s slimming resolution. Of course, humans aren’t the only ones with weight issues. A whopping 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. are classified as overweight or obese. With your nutritious pet food offerings and knowledge, you’re ideally placed to help fight this epidemic. A few years back, Wags to Whiskers (see Jan. 6) introduced its Hounds Losing Pounds club to help dogs lose weight. What can you do?

21 It’s NATIONAL HUGGING DAY, and you’re encouraged to hug anyone who will accept one. If you’d rather not come in physical contact with most of your customers, temp staff or your vendors’ sales reps, think of “hugs” the way retailing legend Jack Mitchell did: as personal touches that impress your customers and business partners. Go on, squeeze!

MORE EVENTS

Dec. 1  Cat Lovers’ Month … Super pets but not always ideal gifts. Keep it win-win for human and feline.
Dec. 13  National Day of the Horse … They’re workers, soldiers, athletes and more soulmates than pets. Pay your tributes.
Dec. 20  Underdog Day
Dec. 22  Hanukkah … Light a candle.
Dec. 25  Christmas … Your gift? A day off. Enjoy it with your family.
Dec. 26  Kwanzaa begins … Light another candle.
Jan. 2  Happy Mew Year Day For Cats … Start the countdown.
Jan. 10  National Cut Energy Costs Day … Research ways to cut your power bill.

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November Events: Small Business Saturday, Black Friday, and, Oh Yeah, Thanksgiving

November is packed with exciting events!

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1 November is the month of modern diseases for pets, being both National Pet Diabetes Month and National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a good time to remind your customers of the signs to look out for and the importance of early detection, as well as preventatives available through pet pros. Both campaigns (usa.petdiabetesmonth.com and petcancerawareness.org) have resources you can share in your market.

19 Peter Drucker would be 110 today. He was one of the few management thinkers to talk almost unbroken good sense. Among his many contributions to the field, perhaps his most important, was his maxim that if you’re a manager, staying aware of what genuinely deserves your attention is the most crucial thing you can do. Mark his birthday by saying no to something that you feel is vaguely important, but you don’t have time for.

24 The quiz show TWENTY QUESTIONS made its debut on this day 70 years ago. Mark the occasion by coming up with 20 surefire questions to get your customers talking, other than “Nice day outside, huh?” They could range from general conversation potboilers and icebreakers like “What kind of pets do you own?” to the more engaging “Have you ever held a Burmese python? Let me show you!” Or promote a specific sale with “How would you like to be your dog’s favorite parent for under $20?”

24 Do you have a special sales, social or management skill that sets you apart? (It could be remembering the names of customers’ pets, noticing staff haircuts, being able to identify a cat person from a dog person at 20 yards …) On Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day, highlight yours on social media, especially if it’s one that just might offer a solution to a customer problem.

28 President George Washington created Thanksgiving 230 years ago by presidential declaration, ordering America to take a day off to give thanks for its many blessings. To get in the spirit of Thanksgiving and gratitude, send a goodie bag of chews to your best 50 customers. It’s likely they provide an outsized contribution to your success.

29 Since at least the Great Depression, it’s been a given: You go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, you get a good deal — it’s Black Friday. While you don’t want to compete with the big chains with their doorbusters, tip your hat to this traditional start of the holiday shopping season with a few specials on popular items displayed on your homepage or just inside your doors.

30 Small Business Saturday is your chance to show off your independent spirit and personality. Dog Krazy in Virginia did that with a comic sketch uploaded to YouTube starring their customers’ pets. “My attorney’s dog, who is my biggest shoplifter,” had a central role stealing a chew, recalls owner Nancy Guinn. The video then panned to the store vet, who says the cure for unhappy dogs is shopping at Dog Krazy, and a photo of employees with their pets. Can you come up with something similarly bold to remind your market that a corporate organization will never be able to match the ethos of an indie?

30 A lot of things dog lover and Bulldog impersonator Winston Churchill is famously quoted as saying he never did (not “Never, never, never give up,” not “Smoking cigars is like falling in love”…). But on the anniversary of his birth in 1874, look into the mirror and recite his pledge on becoming British prime minister in 1940: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” It will put you in the right frame of mind as you lead your team into one of their busiest times of the year.

MORE EVENTS

Nov. 1 is National Cook for Your Pets Day … Got favorite recipes to share?
Nov. 4 Daylight Saving Ends … You know the drill: Spring forward, fall back into an extra hour of glorious, most likely needed, sleep.
National Pet Awareness Month
Nov. 11 Veterans Day … Offer a discount for a vet with a pet.
Nov. 17 National Adoption Day … See our Manager’s To-Do list, page 20.
Nov. 22 Humane Society Anniversary Day … Add a link or set up a box on your counter to support its donation drive.

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