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Expansion! Vacation! And More of What Indie Pet Retailers and Service Providers Are Looking Forward to in 2023

Members of the PETS+ Brain Squad shared their big — and small but equally important — plans for the new year.




HERE COMES 2023! We asked the PETS+ Brain Squad what they are most looking forward to in the new year. The answers ranged from expansion with additional locations to vacationing in faraway places. We can get behind that last one for sure! And are a bit envious of those of you going on African safaris.

  • The retail side of the business is still new and growing, so looking forward to continuing the upward trends. – Corey Heenan, Boutique and Pet Spa, Altamont, NY
  • New products and expanding our training area! – Jennifer Frankavitz, Four Leggers Pet Supplies & Services, Beverly, MA
  • We’ve recently expanded and have been focusing on bringing in more raw, dehydrated and fresh foods. I’m excited for innovations in the industry. Also manifesting more freezers because at this rate we will overflow! – Jennifer Flanagan, Nature’s Pet Market Sherwood, Sherwood, OR
  • New products! I always like seeing new things, and we’ve implemented some personnel and logistical changes that should make next year run much smoother! – Cassie Nilsson, The Mill Stores, Whiteford, MD
  • I look forward to spending less time in the shop and possibly taking a vacation! — Margo Tortorelis, My Natural Pet, Brooklyn, NY
  • Our DM is searching for our next location in Virginia while we’re in Texas. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with as a potential spot. – Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy, Fredericksburg, VA
  • Getting back to business as usual in our new location! Fish in tanks and constant traffic through the door – Liz Harris, Creatures Features, Madison, FL
  • I love the PETS+ community SO much! In fact, it is the reason my 2023 next business venture is coming to fruition. I’m purchasing a Treat Truck from another store (that I found in our special PETS+ FB group), and I couldn’t be happier! I can’t wait to partake in rescue events, farmer’s markets and more.
  • Looking forward to getting back out and connecting with new faces, reconnecting with old ones, and bringing higher awareness to our store, our mission and all that we are about! – Johnna Devereaux, Fetch, RI
  • Getting a firm handle on cash flow and product mix. – Jill Allen, Bark 2 Basics, O’Fallon, MO
  • Looking forward to changing our website and starting an online presence. – Jenny DuBrock, Don’t 4 Get About Me, Branson, MO
  • I really am looking forward to moving locations. My lease expires next year, and I want to move to a larger location that has the ability/room to host more in-store and outside events. I am also looking forward to focusing on nutrition and teaching classes for our community. – Elaina Stanley, Three Happy Hounds, Fernley, NV
  • I’m always looking forward to new products, but this year we are repainting and revamping our store! We took our self-wash stations out and have had a blast utilizing our new space! – Lauren O’Hanlon, Ruff House, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • I am renovating the suite next door to expand and launch a new concept. The new space will be service based, with high-end apparel as the only retail. We are creating a space for people to come and spend time with their dogs. – Becci Scott, Fetching Dog, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Business as usual in 2023. We’ve done a lot the past few years, and we are hoping for smooth sailing and steady increases in 2023. Will work on inventory management and onboarding procedures for young new hires.- Caroline Gunther, Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique, Hendersonville, NC
  • New services offered for pet exercise. New experience add-ons charged. – Amber Van Denzen Suarez, Atta Boy! Animal Care Pet Sitting + Dog Walking, Mulberry, FL
  • I just promoted two of my team to managers, which is going to drastically help me! – Kendra Martin, Woof & Whiskers, Omaha, NE
  • Hopefully a new POS and a vacation!! – Jennifer Guevin, Holistic for Pets, Sarasota, FL
  • Our lease is up for renewal, and we are busting at the seams. We’ve been looking for a new space, but they are impossible to find currently. So our focus is on developing our ecommerce and delivery services with a Q1 launch. – Janet Cesarini, Pupology, Georgetown, TX
  • Hopefully new products, just got my first PETS+ Sample Box delivered today and am excited to test them out to see if they will be big sellers! As well as going into the new year, I will be married! – Nicole Boldt, Nicole’s Pampered Paws, Waterloo, IA
  • A new large lighted sign. More time away due to now having a wonderful group of dedicated and well-trained employees. – Amber Hudson, The Aquarium Pet Store, Weatherford, OK
  • We are expanding to a second location! We started talking about it probably a year ago. We were initially hoping to be open before the holidays, but with delays everywhere you look, it’s now looking like March. This will truly help our over-packed schedule at the current location, as the second location is about 15 min away. Far enough to grab some new people and close enough to accommodate current clientele easier. [Vacation? What’s that?] – Erin Paitrick, Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Summerville, SC
  • Well, today we started a huge remodel for our aquatics department. We are missing a huge portion of the new racks, and it’s been a nightmare. I’m super excited for this to be done… – Paige Elder, Buzz n’ B’s Aquarium and Pet Shop, Erie, PA
  • I’m just looking for a fresh start to a new year. This was our first year we really had to get creative and figure things out as far as what people were spending and buying as it changed with the fluctuations in the economy. We’ve brought in a bunch of new products and are enjoying seeing the feedback from our customers. Feeling optimistic things will get better into the new year. – Kirsten Puhr, The NW Dog, Poulsbo, WA
  • Moving into a better space that’s very close by! – Angela Velasquez, The Kitty Bodega, Houston, TX
  • I feel like I said this last year around this time … but I do plan on focusing on improvement and expansion this next year. I recently started taking an online class geared toward doggy day-care staffing, and it. has. been. life. changing! This is the first time I have ever done anything like this, and while I knew I always wanted to go to expos and participate in other community-based learning opportunities, I am even more pumped than ever! I hope 2023 will be the year for that. I want to be able to continue taking time away from the receptionist/management aspect of work to be able to start drawing up plans and ideas for service and facility expansions, so we can further meet the demand we are seeing post-Covid. I have a lot of ideas in mind and can’t wait to continue furthering my knowledge and participation in the community. – Natalie Bosch, Albany Pet Hotel, Albany, OR
  • Employees! I have been VERY fortunate. While most people were forced to stay home during the pandemic and learned to make bread or another language, my store almost doubled its customer base. That base has not let up until October 2022 (most are now back to school/work). All the while, employees were at the BARE minimum. Most often, it was just me running the store — buying, stocking, social media content, etc. – Maria Cetrola, Buddy’s Pet Shop, Beach Haven, NJ
  • A vacation away from the day-to-day! It has been a rough couple of years with the COVID factors. Hopefully, we are through the worst of it! – April Meier, Pawsitively Scrumptious, Crestview, FL
  • We are in the process of updating the exterior at the front of the store. Bright, eye-catching colors. Making it more appealing to people walking and driving by. We’ve also added to our management team to hopefully allow a little more away from the store time for all of us. – Michele Saharic, Barkley’s Marketplace, Flemington, NJ
  • People are complaining more about the price of food and treats. We’re becoming more inflation resistant and building value on products that help us. – Kathleen Riley, Dog Food Direct, Big Lake, MN
  • We’ll be adding in additional freezers so we can continue to grow our raw assortment, which is a key growth category for us. Personally, we’re excited about taking an African Safari next Summer. – Jeffery Jensen, Four Muddy Paws, St. Louis, MO
  • We are continuing to fill our new space, this year we greatly expanded Christmas toys so hopefully they will fly out of here – Jennifer Moore Baker, Grateful Dog Bakery, North Ridgeville, OH
  • A vacation for two weeks to Africa! But also reaching some significant goals for sales and website. Beth Staley, Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL
  • A reset. A new year is a new start. I’ve already started planning my marketing calendar and other changes I intend to implement. – Cynthia McKinney, Loyl’s Natural Pet Grocery & Groomery, Houston, TX
  • I am just hoping we can keep staff long enough to get through the year and hopefully hire an assistant manager so we can vacation this year! – Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee, WA
  • My final phase of renovations. I will feel like I finally have my spa. I will have finished my Pet Esthetician class and will set up for spa therapies for the dogs. Thanks to the PETS+ Sample Box, I have been contacting some of the vendors that I think their product will do well with my mission and vision of my company. – Kristina Robertson, The Pet Spa at Barkley Square, Falls Church, VA
  • A cat cafe is opening next door to one of our spaces, so we’re excited for that to take off! I’m also excited for our new Waggin’ Wagon (dog food truck) and how that’s going to help gain new business! Also, I’m excited for SuperZoo! We didn’t go this year, and I miss it. – Brittany Schlup, Premium Pets, Jefferson City, MO
  • Expanding our team to be able to offer additional services. – Kim Sykes, K9 Manners & More, Broken Arrow, OK
  • Another year in business. – Kristi May, Legend Acres, Surprise, AZ
  • Expanding my product offerings and hoping to attend some pet expos for the first time! – McKenna Burzimati, Roxies Barkery LLC, North Adams, MA
  • Normalcy? – Mike Griffeth, Woofmeow, Derry, NH
  • We are quietly planning a vacation to Best Friends animal sanctuary. :). Shhh, it’s a secret. – Ruth Sturgis, Dog Daze, North Syracuse, NY
  • Always excited for new products. We are located in Rehoboth Beach, DE, and Global always showcases new products perfect for us to stock prior to a busy spring and summer seasons. – Chad Miller, Pet Wants Rehoboth Beach, Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • I’m really looking forward to adding some DIY wash stations and a store delivery vehicle. – David Price, Fuzzy Buttz, Calera, AL
  • Looking forward to continuing capturing market share in our area. – Zachary Dewitt, Skilos, A Family Pet Store, Milwaukee, WI
  • We are looking forward to going to Global. Went years ago, but we really need it now! – Gloria VonZech, The Principled Pet, Collingswood, NJ
  • I turn 65 in February, looking forward to Medicare and maybe a vacation! – Ron Keller, Captivating Canines, Westerville, OH
  • I’m looking forward to remodeling our self-serve dog room. We are hoping that will be done in November of this year, but we don’t have an exact date yet so it could end up being in the new year. – Kelly Hilzendager, Treat Play Love, Grand Forks, ND
  • We just changed out our old pegboard for slatwall on our toy wall. Looks much better. Getting a second double-door freezer next week for more frozen and bringing in gently cooked from Stella & Chewy’s, A Pup Above and Open Farm. – George Beebe, Pawki’s, Eastsound, WA
  • Slowing down and taking it easy. I want to focus more on my own animals. – Mary Simpson, E & M Pets, Countryside, IL
  • A long Beach vacation away from it! Then I am excited to spend some time getting the store and employees all on the same page now that I have a qualified, good manager. – Heather Miller, Just For Pets, York, PA
  • Incorporating new easy profit-making services. Perhaps some enrichment as well. – Jennifer Hall, All Things Pawssible, Charlottesville, VA
  • Expanding with a second retail location! – Tricia Hoehn, PawFection Pet Barkery and Boutique, Farmington, MO
  • Way too far for me to concentrate on. I take things as they come and go with my gut on what’s next. But … I can say for sure no expansion, and it would be nice to have a long vacation away from it all. My first frandkid will be a new addition to our work family. That will be the biggest thing to look forward to. – Alexis Butler, The Dog’s Meow, Salt Lake City, UT
  • We are planning to do some renovating, spring cleaning – Kris Lamoreaux, Healthy Pets Mountain West, Cottonwood Heights, UT
  • On-site barkery FINALLY being operational, boutique being fully stocked, subscription box program, new loyalty plus program to augment Astro Loyalty. And yes, ongoing property upgrades and improvements. – Pamela Modica, Lazy Creek Pet Food Center, Lexington, SC
  • Focus is on new products for sure. Remerchandising while discounting and getting rid of the dusty inventory. Retail space is precious, and we sometimes cling to items we KNEW would sell but didn’t for whatever reason. Time to move on. – Jungle Bob Smith, Jungle Bob Enterprises Inc, Centereach, NY
  • Always keeping a fresh look with merchandising. Our end caps change monthly to give it a fresh look too! – Rachel McGinnis, Leo & Lucky’s, Parrish, FL
  • 2023 is the year I buy our building and move towards my exit strategy. – Catherine Crews, Canine Crews, Chicago, IL
  • I am excited to see how much more our store can accomplish with now two full-time employees at our stores. We only had part-time help for the last eight years and one full-time employee. Now we can focus on customers more and keeping our store as full and stocked as possible. – April Wright, The Dog and Cat, Essex, JCT,VT
  • I would love to get new products in (especially toys!). We are looking at a bigger building too, but it’s a historic building so renovating will be interesting! – Amber Staton, Smoosh Pets, Knoxville, IA
  • I’m planning to have more of the in-store classes, parties and such that we had before the Covid hit, getting back to more normalcy. From what I hear from my customers, that’s what they are looking for. So I will be planning for either a customer appreciation day or maybe a white Wednesday, still thinking about it because I also want to make sure people stay safe. – Paula, Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • We are looking forward to next year. We have expansion plans for at least one new location. Probably just a retail, grooming and day care all in one, just minus the boarding we currently do. It would be nice not to have to worry about boarding dogs. – Paul Lewis, The Green K9, Eustis, FL
  • I’m really looking forward to having a full team for the start of 2023. A team that cares about each other and what we do. Once that team is in place, I can take time away from the business. How cool would it be to work from home once a week? – Lisa Kirschner, Sit, Stay, ‘N Play, Inc., Stroudsburg, PA
  • Not hiring 15 people; hopefully the good ones we have now will stay. – Paul Lewis, Birds Unlimited, Webster, NY
  • I am always excited to bring in new products. We are a very small store, but people always remark on how we have different things to choose from every time they come in. – Sandy House, Paws N Effect, Hamden, CT
  • I would like to do some renovations during the winter. If nothing else, I hope to purchase some new fixtures and paint. – Susan Nagel-Rees, Winky’s Pet Boutique, Chester, NJ
  • I’m invited to join the WhizBang! Platinum Mastermind Group — never stop learning! I’m looking forward to speaking more about retail at trade shows, pet-related and general gifts. And expanding my marketing and store design consulting services. It’s going to be a busy year with lots of travel! I’ve worked hard to build a great staff and feel confident my store is in good hands! – Pattie Zeller, Animal Connection LLC, Charlottesville, VA
  • Honestly, I’m mostly looking forward to busier times after the really slow summer. September was the best month we’ve had since spring, and I’m hoping the trend continues! – Beth Kidd, Dogs By Design, Irwin PA
  • Learning how to balance and give more time to have more time down. We have grown so fast; it’s time to pace and get a bit of extra time. – Comora Tolliver, Barkers Anonymous, Hendersonville, NC
  • Vacation vacation vacation!!! – Mary Hardin, Woof Gang Bakery Fleming Island, Fleming Island, FL
  • Infancy stage of expansion. Hoping to add another 500-square-foot training room and self-wash. – Brett Foreman, EuPAWria Holistic Pet Center, Owego, NY
  • Increasing business and gaining new customers. – Keith Henline, Asheville Pet Supply, Asheville, NC

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.



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