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February Events to Note in Your Business: Chinese New Year, Wear Red Day, Love Your Pet Day

Note these dates on your February calendar.

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1 Brace for an education. The word February comes from februare, which means “to purify” in the dialect of the ancient Sabine, one of the founding tribes of the early Roman kingdom. One theory is that this had to do with how the Romans honored the dead and performed rites of purification in February. And so what’s it got to do with pet retail? Everything. The holiday season is done. The big shows lie ahead; it’s time to purify your dead inventory. If it didn’t sell between November and Feb. 14, it’s probably not going to sell in a hurry. Purify!

2 Today marks 16 years since the first National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S.: heart disease. Bring out a line of red collars or pet jackets. Get involved in a business or community activity or co-host a red-themed party with a neighboring retailer. Check out heart.org/heartorg/volunteer for more ways you can get involved as a small business.

4 No advertising medium divides pet professionals like Facebook. Some swear by it; others swear it’s a waste of time. Still, with more than 2 billion users you need to be sure you’ve fully explored its potential. On the 15th anniversary of the day Mark Zuckerberg and three friends launched The Facebook, adopt the company’s motto, “Move Fast and Break Things,” and commit to shaking things up with your social marketing. Test some sponsored posts. Get super specific with your targeting. Try a contest, try more video, follow the PETS+ Facebook page at
facebook.com/petsplusmag.

5 Bow down and welcome the pig. It’s Chinese New Year, and it’s the swine’s time to shine. Unlike his Western cousin, the pig in China is considered a patient, trusty character that attracts success in all spheres of life. It means 2019 could be a great year to invest and make money, although probably best if you steer clear of the mini pig trend. Who knew those cute little teapot squealers could grow into a 300-pound house guest?

10 Death of a Salesman marks its 70th anniversary today and while never comfortable, viewing it provides a useful reminder about the need to keep up with the times and our aspirations grounded. What’s your American dream in 2019? Maybe this is a good time to ask.

11 In the human world, red-carpet season peaks this month with, first the Grammys and then the Oscars. In the dog world, the spotlight is firmly on the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Ready your social media guns to provide daily roundup of commentary and images of the stars strutting their stuff.

14 According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend more than $750 million on their pets for Valentine’s Day this year. Sure, that’s an average sale of only $5.50, although some tickets will be much higher. Stock up on treats, accessories and costumes in the appropriate price ranges.

20 On National Love Your Pet Day, ask customers to share photos of their pets with the hashtag #nationalloveyourpetday. Perhaps run a contest for the most popular post with a gift card as the prize. People love it when their pet is featured on a store’s Instagram or Facebook page, says Stacy Busch-Heisserer, owner of holistic pet supply store Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, MO.

MORE EVENTS

Feb. 1  Pet Dental Health Month … well-being starts at the mouth. Explore dental hygiene products you can promote.
Feb. 1  Beat the Heat Month, National Prevent a Litter Month Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. Yep, the longer days mean something is in the air. Play your part.
Feb. 1  GI Joe, the action figure made his debut on this day 45 years ago, and more than a few came to a grisly end in the jaws of the house pet. Celebrate his birthday with a special on dog chews.
Feb. 3  St. Blaise Day. Light a candle to the bishop, martyr, healer of wild animals and patron saint of veterinarians.
Feb. 4  Pet Theft Awareness Day — Make sure your customers know about micro-chipping and pet protection services available in your area.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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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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Black Cat Day, Pet Obesity Awareness Day, Black Dog Day … And Other October Events

Celebrate these October dates with your pets!

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01 Winston Churchill may have forever associated black dogs with dark moods, but the truth is the joy and loyalty they give owners is no less or more than any other dog, although they are less likely to be adopted. Help change that by sharing the message that they need a home, too, via #NationalBlackDogDay on your social media channels.

01 One in five Americans claims German heritage, making the country the leading ancestral background of U.S. citizens. Germany is also the origin of several popular dog breeds: German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Pomeranians, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Dobermans. And let’s not overlook the debt we owe German immigrants for bringing some of the world’s best beer and sausages to our shores. What’s it all add up to? Oktoberfest. Strike up the Oompah band!

01  Research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology has estimated that 85 percent of an individual’s financial success can be attributable to “human engineering skills” — that is personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. In short, success is much more about EQ than IQ. During EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AWARENESS MONTH, ask yourself what you can do to improve your ability to make others feel valued and understood.

10  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60 percent of the cats and 56 percent of the dogs in America are overweight, raising the risk of conditions from arthritis to heart failure. Use PET OBESITY AWARENESS DAY to inform your customers about the dangers, and what you can do to help through nutritious food offerings, advice and the services you offer.

13 It’s Getting the World to Beat a Path to Your Door Week. Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, his actual phrase was: “If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell … you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house.” The snappier version was coined by a New York ad man. The lesson? Innovation and marketing are the two main ways to grow a business. Concentrate on better words.

16 October is clearly furball month. Today is FERAL CAT DAY. The 27th is BLACK CAT DAY. And then the 29th is the biggest of them all: CAT DAY. The common theme among them all is to celebrate the special bonds cats have with humans. Get involved.

29 Think the internet is a fairly recent invention? It turns 50 today. Yes, 5-0. It’s middle aged, and bloated with too much information and the odd chronic virus, but unlike the rest of us, it gets better every year. If your online presence is little more than an electronic brochure for your business, sit down today and map out a more aggressive online strategy. The future is not waiting for you.

31 Trick or Treat? It’s Halloween, probably the single best national holiday for exploring the goofiness in your customers’ relationships with their pets. Invite customers to dress up their dogs and cats for a baked treat and to get their picture taken for a Howloween costume contest on your Instagram or Twitter feeds.

MORE EVENTS

Oct. 1 National Pet Wellness Month … Kick it off by attending the PETS+ Wellness Summit: petsplusmag.com/summit
Oct. 1-7 National Walk Your Dog Week … See our reference to pet obesity above.
Oct.1 National Work and Family Month … It’s a U.S. senate resolution, no less. Get your work and family life in balance
Oct. 6-12 Fire Prevention Week … This year’s theme is fire escape plans. You have one, right?
Oct. 21 Reptile Awareness Day … A day for education, conservation and appreciation.

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