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Editor's Note


Join us in giving a high-five to 16 new America’s coolest winners.




THE JULY-AUGUST issue of PETS+ has to be my favorite of the year. In it, we announce the winners of our America’s Coolest contest and kick off the new batch of profiles that will run through May-June 2023.

There’s nothing we love more than to honor independent pet retailers and service providers with this contest. They are a big part of what makes the pet industry so great.

The contest has evolved since it began in 2017 as America’s Coolest Stores. Last year, we dropped the “Stores” and have since invited other types of pet businesses to enter. It just makes sense to include grooming salons, day cares, boarding facilities, and pet sitting and dog walking providers even if they don’t offer retail. Many of the stores that have won in previous years offer the services they provide, after all.


We have evolved further with this year’s list of winners. You’ll notice we don’t rank them. No more first, second and third place. No more honorable mentions. Why did we make this change? Because all of the businesses that entered are the coolest in their own way, no matter their number of locations, size or segment of the industry.

One last note on the America’s Coolest coverage that starts on p. 48: Yes, those are fireworks popping off in celebration of the winners. We agree that fireworks, for multiple reasons, are problematic. As I type this, my own dog (Ty pictured above) is not napping at my feet per usual. He spends any holiday that brings with it loud booms and bangs at his trainer’s house in a much quieter neighborhood. A big thank you to his second family for giving him a calm place to celebrate.

Also, please know that when our talented designer Victor Cantal drew the fireworks, he made them silent.

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

  1. Hold a “Who Wore It Best?” contest in honor of Bow Tie Day (Calendar, p. 10)
  2. Bring a digital business card to SuperZoo. (Manager’s To-Do List, p. 14)
  3. Hit a roadblock? Talk to your rubber ducky. (Business+, p. 66)
  4. When hosting pet birthday parties, upcharge for special themes. (Benchmarks, p. 70)
  5. Become intrigued by sourcing. (Candace D’Agnolo, p. 76)



P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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