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Give Holiday Bonuses Early Plus More Items for Your Dec-Jan Manager To-Do List

Giving bonuses early gives staff more cash to spend on gifts and more time to take advantage of deals.





Nov. 27-Dec. 3

MARKETING If you don’t already have a selfie station that changes with the seasons, set one up now to capture holiday shoppers. “Naughty” and “Nice” backdrops at Holistic for Pets in Sarasota, FL, inspired by those at Dog Krazy stores in Virginia, let customers decide which best suits their pet. Oliver the Frenchie (at right) landed on the “Nice” list in 2021! Jennifer Guevin designed the backdrops in Canva and had a local business print them for $75 each. Her logo appears at the top, but remains neutral enough to let the pet be the star so customers are eager to share on social media.

PAYROLL If you hand out holiday bonuses, consider giving them in the first week of December like Sheila Spitza of Wet Nose in Geneva, IL. She says, “This will give your team extra money for their holiday shopping and reduce that stressor, and will make them more motivated throughout the season.” Laura Backus of Purrrfect Bark in Columbus, NC, gives bonuses even earlier, before Black Friday so her employees can take advantage of the available deals, too.


Dec. 4-10

SELF-CARE To stay healthy during the holiday season, Johnna Devereaux of Fetch RI in Richmond, RI, says, “Take immune-stimulating herbs like echinacea to help keep your body strong — and don’t forget to sleep!” Brittany Schlup of Premium Pets in Jefferson City, MO, adds this task: Book a vacay for January or February.

Dec. 11-17

PARTNERSHIPS Brand reps know not to make sales calls during the busy holiday season, but many are more than happy to stop by and help with customers. Reach out! Kat Forry of A1 Pet Emporium in Oklahoma City, OK, says, “Reps are an untapped resource during the holidays, and they have always been happy to help us out where they can.” Stephanie Wright of Bend Pet Express in Bend, OR, welcomes those who bring coffee or lunch. “Staff always appreciate the gesture!”

OPERATIONS If you have a service-based business that sees a slow December, use your time like Katherine Ostiguy of Crossbones training facility in Providence, RI. “We use December to deep-clean our facility so we can put our best paw forward in January!”

Dec. 18-24

LEADERSHIP Straighten your Santa cap, Hanukkah tie or other holiday attire because peak holiday season has arrived, and staff will take their energy levels from you. Paige Elder of Buzz n’ B’s Pet Shop in Erie, PA, stays positive during the month because as she says, “Attitude is contagious, be it good or bad.”

MARKETING It’s the week before Christmas — send an eblast with sure-thing gift ideas for pets. Offer services such as day care or training? Run “Buy Now, Use in January” specials.


Dec. 25-31

INVENTORY If you don’t have them already, Dorothy Vetrovec of Nature’s Feed in Spring Grove, IL, recommends getting barcode scanners for year-end inventory. “They run about $300 each and are so worth it!”

Jan. 1-7

PLANNING To know where you’re going, it helps to have a plan. Whizbang! Retail’s Bob Negen suggests you put a half day on your calendar, go to your favorite coffee shop, put on your headphones and get it done. To do this, use his “Down & Dirty, Get It Done Planning Process,” as featured in our Jan-Feb 2022 issue, available at

FINANCES The new year is a good time to refresh your commitment to watching costs like a hawk. Check all recurring expenses from services. If you haven’t used it in the past three months, cancel. You can always rejoin if necessary.

Jan. 8-14

MANAGEMENT Institute a weekly email to keep employees in the loop about what’s happening in your store, as well as up to date on the industry. Sign them up for PETS+ daily bulletin, too, at It includes useful news and tips to boost productivity.

FINANCIAL Take a few moments to plan your 2023 charity budget, which can save you time (and guilt) later. Consider letting your staff vote on how to allocate all or some of it within the community.


Jan. 15-21

LEADERSHIP If it’s too hectic around the holidays to celebrate with staff, follow the lead of Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center and Massage in Wilkinson, IN. Samantha Youngblood says, “We are doing a Paint Your Pet party at our store for our staff as a thank you … in January after everything has calmed down.”

FINANCES Get an early start on your taxes. On average, small-business owners spend more than 40 hours — the equivalent of a full workweek — filing their federal taxes every year. One in four spends at least three full weeks on the annual chore. Start early so it won’t be quite so painful.

Jan. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower your team to make decisions without you.



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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