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Do You Or Don't You

Do You Bring Staff to Trade Shows?

Readers share why they bring their staff to trade shows like the upcoming SuperZoo. And why they don’t.




Yes: 54%

  • I bring a select few who show interest in continuing in our business. I want to encourage and reward hard work. It’s also a great time to get to know each other outside of work. — Danielle Wilson, Bath & Biscuits, Granville, OH
  • Need lots of people to successfully navigate all trade shows have to offer. This includes seminars. — Carol Will, Lola & Penelope’s, St. Louis, MO
  • Being a male in the industry and having a pretty “boring” idea of what’s out there, I bring staff to choose products that they think will be a hit. It’s a conversation, plus it gives them a sense of purpose and pride for suggesting a product. Especially when it sells well. — Chris Mitchell, Crown Hill Pet Supply, Seattle, WA
  • I bring my longest-term employee. We complement each other and make sure what we’re ordering fits our store. She’s earned the “perk” and loves to ask for freebies for events! — Carra Smith, Dog Days Barkery, Mobile, AL
  • We close the store because we need to see what’s new, get fresh ideas, and it’s great coming back to let our customers know what we found for their pets. — Nancy Okun, Cats n Dogs, Port Charlotte, FL
  • I am taking our longest-employed team member to SuperZoo this year because it is the first time we have had enough staff for two of us to leave at once. — Becci Scott, Fetching Dog, Scottsdale, AZ
  • It’s a wonderful opportunity for our managers to meet the faces behind the brands, and it gives us another set of eyes to find new products. There’s also greater excitement and energy when the products arrive. That all translates to our customer service. — Jeff Jensen, Four Muddy Paws, St. Louis, MO
  • It’s important for my staff to meet vendors and see products in person. It also helps them understand why I choose the products I do. — Loree Shirazi, The Original Paw Pleasers, San Diego, CA
  • We typically bring a manager to SuperZoo. We have had contests to decide which one, or we pick a manager who has gone above and beyond. — Kat Forry, A1 Pet Emporium, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Bringing an employee is another way to ensure that all of my customers are represented in the products we choose. Plus, they help keep my spending in check. — Johnna Devereaux, Fetch RI, Richmond, RI
  • I put our operations manager in charge of looking at fish and reptile booths. It lets me focus on the remaining departments. Also, it’s a reward for his hard work, getting away for a few days! It’s still work, but it’s a nice change of pace. Did I mention he’s our son? This way, it becomes a family trip! — Holly Elassaad, Pet Nation, Navarre, FL
  • Because they run the company, they are more in tune to what customers are looking for and trends in the marketplace. I just have to be bright enough to listen! — Frank Frattini, The Hungry Puppy, Farmingdale, NJ
  • My manager is an integral part of my business and spends more time on the sales floor than I do. She is my eyes and ears and is extremely valuable at trade shows and attends them with me. — Julie Sterling, Julz Animal Houz, Marysville, WA
  • I don’t bring them to every show, but Superzoo this year will be the second time. I think it helps me with getting another perspective on the products and also helps with ordering. — Kelly Hilzendager, Treat Play Love, Grand ForksND
  • When I have the availability to bring a staff member, I do. They may take an interest in something I may have overlooked. My manager (two managers ago) took an interest in Dale Edgar’s Hip & Joint and K9 Calm, and now they are some of my fastest moving products. Second set of eyes/ears is always a good thing! — Robin Jerdee, Beast Buffet, Monroe,WI
  • We have brought our manager to Global and would love to include staff on trade show trips in the future. — Jennifer Thomas, Lucky Dog Pet Grocery & Bakery, LawrenceKS
  • It’s important to show them they are a valued part of the business and that you want their input on anything that affects the business, both positive and negative, or that should be done in a different way. — Marvin Schaffer, J & M Aquatics & Pet Center, Grand Junction, CO
  • It is a great way to encourage team members to keep their passion for what we do fired up! It’s fun to spend time outside of work together, and I get great ideas from team members who attend trade shows. — Teresa Hogge, Belly Rubs Pet Care, Ashburn, VA
  • This is a great opportunity for them to build relationships with companies, manufacturers, reps, etc. Plus it allows us to divide and conquer the trade show to make sure we see all the products. — Jill Tack, The Pet Beastro, Madison Heights, MI
  • Our owners have our director of operations attend usually and ask the customer-facing associates for ideas and suggestions. Also a different store manager is typically included for SuperZoo each year. We have four stores total. — Lori Willis, A1 Pet Emporium, Oklahoma City, OK
  • If they stay with me long enough, it’s a reward. — Julie Breault, The Hairy Sofa, Wichita, KS
  • We have a small staff, and everyone wears many hats. Our staff are career-minded, long-term folks who treat the business like it’s own, so whoever is available is who we send to trade shows IF we attend them. — Christina Cummings, The Wild Pet, Charleston, SC
  • When we are able to attend, absolutely bring my staff. They see and experience what I do and help our stores succeed. — April Wright, The Dog and Cat, Essex and Stowe VT
  • It is important for them to see all aspects of the pet industry. — Deana Deitchler, Dogs Paw, Park Rapids, MN
  • I try to bring one, but it is not always possible with staffing shortages. If I had plenty of people, I would bring one every time. — Ann Peterson, Ann-imals Pet Supply, York, ME
  • This past year was the first time I brought staff with us to Global. Most of my staff have dogs/cats and all shop at our store. So it was nice to let them see what’s coming this year and for them to have a decision on what they think will sell. I took them all out to a nice dinner afterwards. — Paul Lewis, The Green K9, Mount Dora, FL
  • My staff need to see the new products that we are bringing in so it’s no surprise. We then discuss each one prior to arrival to set our displays when they arrive. Plus my staff love to go! — April Meier, Pawsitively Scrumptious, Crestview, FL
  • My staff members have a different eye and can catch something I might’ve missed. Plus, it takes some of the pressure off of me having to talk to all the reps. — Jamie Judson City Bark, Detroit, MI
  • So many ideas and inspiration are available at shows and conferences. — Dani Edgerton, Paws on Main, Columbiana, OH
  • So beneficial for them. They can learn first-hand from professionals, they can participate and ask questions. — Kristina Robertson, The Pet Spa at Barkley Square, Falls Church, VA
  • They have a different perspective, and it’s a fun “perk.” — Amber Van Denzen Suarez, Atta Boy! Animal Care Pet Sitting + Dog Walking, Mulberry, FL
  • The more eyes and opinions the better. We all have different ideas of what to bring into the store. We like to give everyone a chance at suggesting new products or expanding existing product lines. — Michele Saharic, Barkley’s Marketplace, Flemington, NJ
  • Whenever we can we bring as many staff members as scheduling will allow. They are in front of the customer and part of our team, so it is important. — Christine McCoy, The Natural Pet Enrichment Center, North Royalton, OH
  • In the past, I have sent employees to trade shows for me. I haven’t been to a trade show since before the ‘rona, and I don’t plan on going to anything other than local shows anytime soon. The expense doesn’t seem to justify the rewards anymore. — Janelle Pitula, Wags to Whiskers, PlanfieldIL
  • I like their feedback since they are on the front line with our customers. — Rachel McGinnis, Leo&Lucky’s, Parrish, FL
  • If they’d like to come, I bring them. I like engaging with staff, but also I want them to be in the know and I think they appreciate that. — Cait Lauria, Groomington Coat Factory , Midland Park, NJ
  • Definitely! I need a second set of eyes and it’s more fun with a friend! — Penny Murano, Unleashed, New London, NH
  • Why: Like to get their input/feedback. Why not: Not enough staff to cover. — Jennifer Guevin Holistic for Pets, Sarasota, FL
  • I like for them to see other aspects of the business, plus I think they enjoy the break from working the sales floor. — Theresa Moreno, For Healthy Pets, Montgomery, AL
  • I haven’t in the past, but plan to when I hire a full-time manager soon. I think it’s key to their role to have a pulse on the industry, what’s new and what to bring in. — Danny Offenbacher, City of Paws Pet Care, Philadelphia, PA
  • I believe it’s important to let them be part of the process of new products and ideas. — Jessica Cooke, Yuppy Puppy, O’Fallon, MO
  • Other eyes are appreciated at a trade show! Too much for one person to see and talk to people about! — Gloria VonZech, The Principled Pet, Collingswood, NJ
  • My senior employees to help me make the “purchasing/where would we put that” decisions. — Stephanie Rossi, GiggyBites Bakery & Market Place, Chadds Ford, PA
  • I bring my retail manager to trade shows. She plays a role in choosing products for the store. — Jennifer Frankavitz, Four Leggers Pet Supplies & Services, Beverly, MA
  • I find it’s helpful to have two people to review new products. Two minds are better than one. — Debbie Lange Benson’s Canine Cookies, Lakeland, FL
  • We alternate our management team at various shows. Mostly the ones that don’t require flights. — Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee,WA
  • Gives them a better understanding of the trade and keeps them abreast on current products. — Doug Staley, Pet Palace of New City, New City, NY
  • To get fresh eyes, ears and perspective on things. — Amy Schiek, Lucky Dogs, Skaneateles, NY
  • I educate my team on products and why we carry them. — Kristi May, Legend Acres, Surprise, AZ
  • It allows them to see the magnitude of the pet industry! — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC
  • Need more input on purchases besides me. — Laurie McClearen, Cohutta Country Store, Blue Ridge, GA
  • Staff love to be part of the excitement of going to a trade show, let’s staff experience the pet industry from another side and makes for great employee appreciation. — Tori Rosay, Dexter’s Deli, Del Mar, CA
  • Great to brainstorm ideas on products and displays. — Gregg DePhillips, J-B Pet Supplies, Oakland, NJ
  • I think it’s a good idea to see the ins and outs of the whole pet industry. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • Why not? They need to see what is new and it can be a learning experience. — Mary Simpson, E & M Pets, Countryside, IL
  • I bring a staff member on a voluntary basis. It’s a fantastic way to learn about products. — Barbara Clemmens, Aardvark Pet Supplies, Inc., Thornwood, NY
  • The General Manager has the opportunity to expand her business horizons, and she is a pleasure to travel with! — Krista Lofquist, Wagging Tails Pet Resort & Spaw, Wolcott, CT
  • I value an extra set of eyes and ideas. — Jennifer Baker, Grateful Dog Bakery, North Ridgeville OH
  • If we’re attending a show and have capacity, they come. If we’re in the show, I want my best marketing tools working the floor! — Carly Patryluk, House of Paws Pet Boutique Regina, Saskatchewan

No: 46%

  • We’d have to close the store. But we video chat with them, bring back samples and brochures, and ask for input! — Annabell Bivens, The Dog Store, Alexandria, VA
  • We did once and didn’t feel like the staff member got a lot out of it beyond free samples. — Katherine Ostiguy, Crossbones, Providence, RI
  • We are family-owned and -operated, making it almost impossible to bring any extras. Plus my husband and I use this time as a mini-vacation. — Ruth Sturgis, Dog Daze, North Syracuse, NY
  • We have brought staff to local trade shows, but since the two main ones are out of state now, we don’t have the luxury to bring them due to cost and store coverage. — Sheila Spitza, Wet Nose, Geneva, IL
  • I like to be able to browse the big shows by myself, plus the extra expense. However, if there is a local show for our distributor, I would bring them. — Beth Staley, Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL
  • It’s just me and my sister. She runs the shop while I attend shows. I do all of the purchasing for the shop. We have no employees. — Shelly Nicastro, Essex Bird & Pet Supply, Essex, MA
  • I don’t have enough staff to bring with me as they are needed at the store while I’m not there. When I get to the point that I have enough staff, I will most certainly bring my key employee with me. — Elaina Stanley, Three Happy Hounds, Fernley, NV
  • I have no staff members!! — Ron Keller Captivating Canines, WestervilleOH
  • No employees. Owner-operated. — Denise Strong Pawz On Main, Cottonwood, AZ
  • I don’t go to industry shows, and when I can make a distributor show I don’t have enough staff to take extra people. — Richie Powell All American Pet, Springfield, OR
  • We choose to go personally because it helps keep me focused on the specific items I want to bring in. I usually grab all the info, and then we have a big meeting when we get home to brainstorm and we can all have input on what we think we want to bring in and what we don’t. — Samantha Youngblood Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center and Massage, Wilkinson IN
  • We are too tiny, need them to remain behind to mind the shop. I so want to! I’ve brought them to tiny local ones, but can’t wait to be able to bring them to Global. — Adina Silberstein, Queenie’s Pets, Philadelphia, PA
  • Typically not because my husband and I are co-owners and like going to the shows together. We had planned for our manager to come to our local show earlier this year, but scheduling conflicts prevented it. I’d love to have the staffing to bring her, though — hopefully someday! — Shane Somerville Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA
  • I AM SOLO. — Danny Bik Wet Pets SRQ, Sarasota, FL
  • Want to but haven’t had enough staff to cover the store while we’re away. — Brianna Swanberg, Mutts + Meows Natural Pet Market, Nashville, TN
  • My staff is too small to spare. — Gina Swansburg, Gone to the Dogs, Wakefield, MA
  • It’s hard to get away from the store let alone get extra people away. — Nicole Olesen Woofs & Waves, Sioux Falls, SD
  • I’m just starting to go myself. They are young and not as invested in the business yet. I have two that I feel by next year, maybe. — Cindy Samartino, Wiggle Butt & Whiskers, Leesburg, VA
  • We run on a skeleton crew. We really can’t spare anyone from the store to bring. It’s been like that for 14 years. — Diane Marcin, Benny’s Pet Depot, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • We only have one employee, and she has to run the store while we are gone. — George Beebe, Pawki’s, Eastsound, WA
  • Can’t afford to currently. But would love to bring my assistant manager, hopefully one day. — Crisi Fetters, Local Pet LLC, Victoria, TX
  • We only have a very small staff so it’s hard to take them to shows. — Keith Henline, Ashville Pet Supply, Ashville, NC
  • It’s too expensive to go to GlobalPet or SuperZoo with staff, and I like to “fly the show, solo.” I often take staff to supplier buying shows instead. — Pattie Zeller, Animal Connection, Charlottesville VA
  • Sometimes would be a better option. If it’s a buyer-in-training, it’s obviously an important training opportunity. Everyone else, no because it’s easier for me to be efficient and keep my “eye on the prize” when I’m flying solo. — Cassie Nilsson The Mill Stores, Whiteford, MD
  • We have a great team, but we are open seven days a week so all hands are needed on deck while I’m away. — Paige Elder, Buzz n’ B’s Pet Shop, Erie, PA
  • We’re too small, only two staff, so I can’t close to bring us both. — Brett Foreman, EuPAWria Holistic Pet Center, Owego, NY
  • Small staff — can’t afford to close the shop. — Janet Cesarini, Pupology, Georgetown, TX
  • Only two of us, and we are the owners. — Nikki Tongg, Faux Paws Pet Shop, Summit, NJ
  • I haven’t yet, but would definitely consider. I’ve brought a friend (who was totally neutral and gave me her honest “Dog Mom Consumer” opinion on products) with me when I’ve gone in the past. — Kaye Busse-Kleber, Bark On Mulford LLC, Rockford, IL
  • Someone needs to watch the store! — Gretchen Bonadio, Nickel Plate Mills, Erie, PA
  • Too costly. — Kim Sykes, K9 Manners & More, Broken Arrow, OK
  • I have in the past, but I find that staff move on to other jobs so frequently that in the end, the education and learning doesn’t pay off. — Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT
  • Most of the time no since we are a busy little store, and I can’t always afford to have fewer people at the store. I did bring my manager to a local show so we both were gone only one day. — Dorothy Vetrovec, Nature’s Feed, Spring Grove, IL

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