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Custom Chew Bars Move Body Parts and More at These Pet Stores

Owners took the DIY route, building displays themselves or hiring local carpenters.

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INDIES LOVE TO DIY when it comes to display fixtures. To house their wide variety of chew offerings, these owners built their own bars or hired a local carpenter to help. The result: displays that impress people and their pets, the latter especially if low, open bins allow for easy sniffing and selection.

Three Happy Hounds

Three Happy Hounds
FERNLEY, NV

Elaina Stanley wins the Most Cubbies in a Treat & Chew Bar prize. There are 96 total! Plus storage drawers underneath with charming dog-head pulls. She hired a local craftsman to create this wooden fixture, which separates into four pieces on wheels for easy moving and cleaning.

TIP: Stanley advises, “Think about how you want to label your products. My craftsman made me removeable wooden ‘chalkboards’ for each cubby. I actually make and print my labels, laminate them and use double-sided tape. This makes it super easy to switch out product and relabel if needed.”

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Belmont Pet Shop

Belmont Pet Shop
BELMONT, MA

Kaitlin McGrath combined wood, galvanized pails and chalkboard paint to create her chew bar. She strategically places wrapped chews on the bottom to thwart dogs who like to take sample licks.

TIP: McGrath says, “Have a clear idea of what you want, and then visualize your customer’s experience using it to work out any glitches before you build.”

Petagogy

Petagogy
PITTSBURGH, PA

Co-owner Ben Huber built chew bars for both Petagogy locations. He used birch plywood and pine lattice strips to create this double-sided fixture, which features 48 covered bins with slatwall above.

TIP: Include wheels! “I like to change the layout of my store occasionally. We also have to move displays for in-store events,” Huber says.

Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage

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

In addition to their pet business, the Youngblood family owns a hardwood farm. It supplied the materials for this raw bar built by customer Wesley Hale. He also made the crates, which hold plastic bins from IKEA.

TIP: Looking for a carpenter? Ask your customers! Samantha Youngblood says, “During our recent move, we found out that many have hidden talents and were eager to help.” They paid Hale $600 for this project.

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Flying M Pet Grocery

Flying M Pet Grocery
HOUSTON, TX

The Morgue department at this store features a custom-made chew bar, complete with an awning and eight bins of body parts identified by chalkboard signs. Additional parts sit in restaurant-style trays and on delicate dessert stands. The tongue-in-cheek display also encourages customers to build a body to get a head for free and to ring the bell to clear any negative energy left over from the butchering process.

TIP: Have fun! Trace Menchaca says, “The morgue theme sells more and attracts customers, rather than grossing anyone out, and it’s added a fun twist to the store.”

A Place For Paws

A Place For Paws
COLUMBIANA, OH

Every day, 20 to 35 percent of store sales come from this wooden bar, which Dani Edgerton designed and her husband, Jim, then built. It offers bulk treats on one side and “Chews to Entertain” and “Kick Back & Crunch” sections on the other. The metal buckets and wooden crates came from hardware and hobby stores.

TIP: Value the visual. “Create straight orderly lines. Your chews will have enough variety, and people’s eyes will need the rest,” Edgerton says, adding to “Place your chew bar in the front. It will be the most impressive thing many of your customers have seen in a pet store. Have a three-minute tour of the bar ready for new customers.”

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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