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Letters from Our Readers for December 2018

See how you did last holiday season.

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Feeling the Competition

I feel our biggest challenges are attracting the younger dog/cat owner away from online pet-supply purchases and just online competition with brick-and-mortar stores. — Todd Ruppenthal, Happy Husky Bakery, Evanston, IL

Experimenting

This holiday season gave us the opportunity to experiment with a Holiday Gift Guide and a December Pet Activities Calendar. — Keefer Dickerson, Nashville Pet Products, Nashville, TN

Best News

The best news of the season was all the brand-new customers finding their way into the store and learning all the benefits of a holistic way of feeding and treating their furry family. — Michelle Pelletier, Bentley’s Pet Stuff, Grafton, WI

New Ideas

We tried some new ideas. Our newest was the 12 Days of Christmas. We featured one item (or group of items) each day starting on Dec. 12 and posted a short video of it on Instagram/Facebook and offered it at a higher discount than normal. — Diane Marcin, Benny’s Pet Depot, Mechanicsburg, PA

Advice Needed

I’d love to learn how to sell more higher margin products better! Talk to the people who do it well and see if they’ll share …. We sell food well, but not treats, toys, chews and other products …. Need advice! — Janelle Pitula, Wags To Whiskers, Plainfield, IL

Word Spreading

We have some new staff working who are helping to push our retail and opened a Shopify account so that anyone can buy a gift certificate for their pup, grand pup or nephew pup, right online! And in our second Christmas as a boarding and daycare facility, word-of-mouth is nicely spreading about our services. — Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT

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Double-Digit Growth

October and November were both up 20-plus percent. December is flat with last year. Being a Minnesota store, winter came early and people started shopping early, which really boosted November sales. Still will be up over 10 percent for the year, and we’re very excited about double-digit growth after 14 years. — Michelle Nelson, The Pet Authority, Albert Lea, MN

Weather Woes

Due to weather, we’ve had a hard time getting birds shipped. No bird sales = no cage sales = no toy and feed sales. Trying to stay positive. — Paul Lewis, Birds Unlimited, Webster, NY

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 14 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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Here Are the Letters From Our Readers for June

You have expressed your disappointments and frustrations.

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DCM Frustrations

This DCM thing has me stressed and frustrated. My hope is, it will allow more growth in foods that are less processed and more species-appropriate. My fear is that it will drive people blindly to low-quality brands because of the hysteria. — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors
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Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work
Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms
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Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

Investigate the Truth

I’m wondering how boutiques that sell the dog food listed by the FDA handled the DCM issue with grain-free foods. I printed out the letters from the food companies I sell and distributed them if my customers wanted them. I also researched and informed my customers that there is no scientific proof that these foods cause DCM, and all the foods we carry and sell are manufactured from reputable sources. The power of money and media can be destructive if you do not do your own research and investigate the truth! — Laura Haupt, Bark & Meow, Tarry Town, NY

Upsetting, Disappointing

I started in 1995 as a professional pet sitting service and today am so, so, so annoyed, aggravated, concerned and disappointed at the state of the industry. Wag and Rover have made every Tom, Dick and Harry a “pet sitter,” have cut into my clientele and have definitely diminished the “professional” part of the business that I have spent so long and worked so hard to make reputable. — Krista Lofquist, Wagging Tails, Wolcott, CT

Fear the Onslaught

I fear for small shops with the onslaught of big-box and online shopping. Leasing is also a huge deterrent to opening a business with low margins. It’s tough to make ends meet if you don’t have the volume coming in — a couple of bad months can easily bankrupt you. — Rosi Ladouceur, Barrkhaven Pet Boutique and Spaw, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Raise Our Prices

I would love to hear from other service businesses about raising the price of our services to reap more profit and security for owners. The Facebook group, Owners of Dog Daycares, sometimes details the grueling nature of pet care, and I believe that pet care is an undervalued service in society. Our rates should collectively go up! — Charlsye Lewis, Metro Animals, Fort Worth, TX

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Here Are the Letters From Our Readers for May

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Good Points

I loved the “Expansion Time!” article (PETS+ June, page 24). I’m not going to be expanding, but I am looking to open a few more locations. So many good points were made. — Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT

Sharable Bulletins

Our team enjoys the magazine. However, we primarily utilize the daily bulletins. We share the content and info on a weekly basis with each other. We enjoy the style of the short articles that helps us keep up with all the changes and information in the industry. — Bill Greene, Reber Ranch Inc., Kent, WA

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work
Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms
Podcasts

Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

Fly on the Wall

I’m pleasantly surprised by how many times topics and issues we’re wrestling with will show up in the next issue. You must be listening in on our staff meetings! — Keefer Dickerson, Nashville Pet Products, Nashville, TN

Keeping It Up

Love that you are doing more stories about social media! Please, please keep it up! — Morgan Moses, Harley’s Bakery, Harrisonville, MO

Save the Date

I look forward to the daily bulletins and always try to put the webinars on my calendar. Thanks for making the extra effort it takes to get us great information! — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC

Inspiring Products

Seeing new products for cats and dogs in your magazine helps to inspire me! I’ve ordered these products, mainly due to the info you’ve provided. — Cecelia Michaels, Lickin’ Good Whole Pet Food, Park Rapids, MN

Own vs. Rent

I would suggest a look into owning versus renting. We just purchased a new building and are doubling the size of our original store. When any business does this, we always compare the option to rent versus own. We decided again that owning was for us, as we view the real estate as an important part of our business’s total value. — Sal Salafia, Exotic Pet Birds Inc., Webster, NY

Hiring Help

I really enjoyed the ghosting article by Candace D’Agnolo (June PETS+, page 41). She hit some great tips that have helped in my hiring practices. — Debbie Brookham, Furry Friends Inc., Colorado Springs, CO

Managing Requests

The “Give Wisely” article by Stacy Busch-Heisserer (May PETS+, page 41) was right on point for us. The dreaded donation letters for fundraisers are non-stop! Thanks for some good ideas on how to manage the requests. — Sue Hepner, Cool Dog Gear, Roslyn, PA

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Here Are the Letters From Our Readers for April

The more product ideas the better!

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Love New Products

I love seeing new products through PETS+. It lets me get ideas on what to bring in — so the more product ideas the better! Same with promotional ideas. I love fun, trendy sales and events. I gather a lot of my best events and ideas through your articles! — Taylor Gonzalez, Three Tails Parlor and Pantry, Columbia, IL

Starting Point

I’m a responsible, ethical breeder. I’m also the starting point for introducing and recommending clients to certain products and product lines. It gives me a unique opportunity to start pet owners in the right direction with respect to nutrition, play, treats, toys, containment and accessories. I love new products and services and seek them out for my clients, who rely on me as a font of information regarding all things German Shepherd and dog in general. — Jacqueline Levy, Cross Keys K9, Williamstown, NJ

More Services

I’d love to see a little more featured on the pet service industry. This market is more saturated than ever, even before the Wag and Rover apps. I’d love comparisons of hobby vs. pro, interviews with successful pet care business owners, those who have branched out, etc. — Ashley Cook, Viva La Pet, Dover, NJ

Ready for Mentorship

In order to look forward, I first glance back to remind myself how far I have come. 2018 was a difficult year for our business, mostly due to the effects of Hurricane Florence, but it was also a year that I grew personally. I was ready for mentorship, and found what I needed in the pages of PETS+, not only as a magazine, but also through the introduction of Pet Boss Nation, the coaching group led by Candace D’Agnolo. — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC

What Others Are Doing

We love the Best of the Best section (page 46 in this issue). It gives us insight on what others are doing. The Brain Squad is always something I stop to participate in because I like to see others’ responses and hope mine will help someone else! — Sal Salafia, Exotic Pet Birds Inc., Webster, NY

ED: Hear ye, all owners and top managers of brick-and-mortar pet businesses: Join Sal in participating in our monthly Brain Squad surveys by joining today at petsplusmag.com/brainsquad.

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