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Love for the PETS+ Big Survey! Plus Comments on Acquisitions and Big Box

Our inaugural was a hit! But readers have other issues on their mind as well.




The Big Survey

  • Loved the Big Survey and reading the content coming out in its wake! — Katherine O., Providence, RI
  • I thought the survey was well thought out with the questions it asked! — Penny M., New London, NH
  • I loved the Big Survey and didn’t feel it was all that time consuming! I love the latest issue and all the graphics with all the input. I’d participate again for sure! — Paige E., Erie, PA
  • It was outstanding to see the Big Survey results! I feel more like a member of a wonderful and supportive community now. — Lisa K., Stroudsburg, PA
  • Loved the Big Survey issue! — Janet Cesarini, Pupology, Georgetown, TX
  • I really enjoyed the insightful information gathered in the Big Survey. While I do not compare myself to others because each business is so individual and unique, I always enjoy seeing what others find as successful and inspiring. — Teresa H., Ashburn, VA
  • It was interesting to see what states had the most stores and some of the numbers from other business owners. I believe in showing actual proof as lots of store owners fib to others about their sales and numbers to make other stores think they are killing it when they actually don’t sell as much as they say they do. We have an open-book concept, and I am always happy to share numbers so store owners can see they are doing great. I recently spoke to another store owner and showed her my actual numbers, and they were very close to hers. She was elated because in another group she’s in, there are stores telling her they make three times what she does. I might be wrong, but I think they might be fibbing just a lot. — Nancy G., Magnolia, TX
  • I loved the big survey! I hope that becomes an annual thing. — Jennifer G., Bradenton, FL

Editor’s note: The 2023 Big Survey will run in our Nov-Dec issue.

More Love

  • Loves: The Big Survey and monthly survey give me time to reflect, really think about what’s working, what’s not. And get ideas from others as to their items; that’s how I bought in the candles I’ve had to restock weekly. Nancy Guinn’s Real Deal and the answers everyone gives. The Facebook group and being able to reach out for help and support and getting immediate responses. — Cindy S., Leesburg, VA
  • I appreciate the magazine. It gives us a chance to see what new products came out. With fewer reps coming into the store, we never know what is new until we see it in a magazine. The survey was great! It’s a good way to see where other stores stand in comparison to yours. Thank you for a great information-filled year! — Diane M., Mechanicsburg, PA
  • I love the product reviews in each issue. I’ve learned about new products that I’ve decided to bring into the store. It’s a huge help! — Beth K., Irwin, PA
  • Thanks for keeping us up to date! So hard to read everything the comes my way, but your email bulletins help me to quickly browse a story. — Beth S., Downers Grove, IL
  • Love your survey and all the fun stories! George B., Eastsound, WA
  • Love to read Letters to the Editor for ideas and to know I am not alone with some situations other owners deal with daily. — Chad M., Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • GREAT information and great ideas from other stores! — Gloria V., Collingswood, NJ
  • Just keep up the great work! I love that your articles are all encompassing of the entire industry to keep us up to date on more than just Indies. — Becci S., Scottsdale, AZ
  • Love hearing what works for others. I recently added a new dog food to our store and knowing what this group found successful gave me confidence in my choice. — Shari W., Eufaula, OK
  • Love the magazine! The only pet magazine I look forward to receiving. — Step C., Herrin, IL
  • It’s always great content and keep it coming! Happy Holidays. — Doug S., New City, NY
  • Big Survey. I wish there had been a name and store credit given to each of the helpful comments. Those who did take the survey took a lot of personal time to make those comments, and it would be nice to recognize them. Real Deal. When you publish the reader responses to the Real Deal, why not ask Nancy to do a short paragraph about how they resolved the issue. I’m guessing many of those instances happened to their store? Brands moving to “direct to consumer” at the same time they’re offering wholesale. An in-depth story about how to work with a company who does both, pros and cons, etc. would be insightful. I know it’s on a lot of retailer’s minds. It seems like every time you turn around, a supplier surprises their long-time retailers with that decision. Actually, maybe it’s not surprising … profit usually comes first before loyalty in many cases. — Pattie Z., Charlottesville, VA

Editor’s note: We keep the Big Survey anonymous as it encourages transparency in certain areas, such as financial. The other 12 surveys we do a year are not anonymous and give us plenty of opportunity to credit individual readers. On Real Deal, as stated on the page, “Real Deal is a fictional scenario designed to read like real-life business events. The businesses and people mentioned in this story should not be confused with actual pet businesses and people.”


  • We are experiencing the best holiday season of our company ‘s lifetime. Very encouraging as we saw some low spots in the economy that seemed to be the new norm — proof that our economy is still strong and buyers are out there willing to support businesses they believe in! — Sal S., Webster, NY


  • Is anyone else commenting on strange holiday sales patterns this year? I feel like it’s off … not the typical frenzy we’ve had of years past! — Nicole C., Ft Walton Beach, FL
  • What is everyone doing to cope with the fact that more and more manufacturers are shipping direct to customers (some at wholesale) and food brands leaving indie to go big box. What are your pivot strategies? — Jennie D., Mount Pleasant, SC
  • I thought the Big Survey was a great idea, and I have enjoyed reading through some of the other retailer’s answers. I am interested in other retailer’s perspecitves on the long-term outlook of brick-and-mortar stores. With so many food and treat companies selling their products directly to the consumer, it makes me wonder whether brick-and-mortar pet stores will still be around in 50 years. — Cassie N., Whiteford, MD

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Can’t wait to see how this Champion Pet Products sale plays out. I figure we have several months to decide what to do before Mars takes over. — Paul L., Eustis, FL


  • Have been preoccupied with the pricing on Chewy. Stella & Chewy rep tells me it will be remedied. I take it very personally when customers come into the store and ask for a product and tell me that they always buy online, but it hasn ‘t shown up yet. I want to scream that their crickets won ‘t be here if they don ‘t support the rest of the store. It ‘s sad and exhausting. — Heather M., York, PA
  • Would love to see an article on why veterinarians tell pet owners that raw food is bad for their dog. It would help me better understand their position if i knew the reasons behind it and could perhaps guide the customer to a solution that best fits. — Julie J., Bigfork, MT
  • Very helpful and educational information. As for the industry, I’m most saddened to see so many manufacturers going direct and undercutting the prices and sales offered to the independent. We try to support YOU as our manufacturers, and always have, so don’t kick us to the curb now. — Janelle P., Plainfield, IL
  • It’s been a wild up-and-down year. More peaks and valleys than I have experienced in eight years. The valleys and slow rebounds are very concerning to me. — Brett F., Owego, NY

Bring On 2023

  • I am excited to see what next year brings. Our store expanded last fall, and this year has been our best year so far — not that we were ever slow. It’s just the two of us at each of our stores, and we have had several other stores say it’s amazing that we are so organized and efficient with just two people running each location! — April W., Essex, JCT, VT



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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