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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 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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Letters From Our Readers for August

“PETS+ continues to be my favorite magazine…”

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Cover Love

  • Love the Pug butt! — Leel Michelle, Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe, San Diego, CA
  • Loved the cover dog. Good stuff inside, too. — Nancy Okun, Cats n Dogs, Port Charlotte, FL

Like the Sharing

  • I like the sharing of ideas we independent stores do — trading tips, advice, etc. — Greg Gorski, Cody Pet Depot, Cody, WY

Love the Products

  • Love this magazine and the glossy pages! I love being able to see all of the new products! — Sandy House, The Store at Paws ’N Effect, Hamden, CT

FB Live Experiment

  • I love the article and live webinar y’all did on using Facebook Live sales. We took your advice and tried one (with a few mistakes). We made $400 in sales on it. I’d say not bad for our first attempt. Your magazine always gives us new ideas to up our sales. Thanks. — David Price, Alabama Pet Foods, Pelham, AL

So Much from Each Issue

  • You guys are awesome!!! Sorry, I know that’s not detailed, but I literally get so much from each magazine. — Amy Zounes, CaNine to Five, Clifton Park, NY
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Look Forward to It

  • I always look forward to getting your magazine. I love all the new ideas, trends, to-do lists and real-life experiences/examples. — Lisa Keppers, Sauk Centre Country Store, Sauk Centre, MN

Favorite Mag

  • PETS+ continues to be my favorite magazine. — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC

Enjoy, Enjoy

  • I really enjoy your publication. I especially enjoy the monthly calendar on important pet-related dates and your ideas for management issues. — Bob Howard, DogWatch of Upstate NY, Otego, NY

Fresh Ideas

  • I often run out of ideas, so for me I love the magazine because it gives me fresh ideas to work with. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ’N’ More, Muskego, WI

Continued Support

  • Love all that you do to continue supporting and elevating the collective pet industry! — Teresa Hogge, Belly Rubs N Suds, Ashburn, VA

Real-World Advice

  • Always excellent topics, vivid photos and graphics, and real-world advice and examples. Keep it coming! — Remy Bibaud, Pet Perennials, Pittsburgh, PA

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Letters From Our Readers for July

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More Than Sales

As a veteran of indie pet retail, I am ecstatic over the number of pet parents advocating for their pets by reading, discussing and seeking out alternative remedies, raw food, herbs, etc. Our sales of raw and freeze-dried foods, supplements, CBD and herbs continue to climb. It’s not just the sales we love; it’s the feedback we are getting on the improved health and wellness of the pets. It doesn’t get much better! — Karen Conell, The Bark Market, Delavan, WI

A Fun Day

We have managed to put our daughter in daycare, previously a cost our budget couldn’t handle. By utilizing ideas from this magazine and its featured stores, and a business mentoring program for pet business owners, I can happily pay that $600-plus a month for my daughter to go make friends and have a fun day! — Sarah Cordes, Knotty Dog, Chelsea, AL

Great Relationships

We love the great relationships our staff members build with our customers. They support us on social media with congratulatory posts anytime our staff are promoted. It is very refreshing to see that! — Charlsye Lewis, Metro Animals, Fort Worth, TX

Grooming: Check!

I’m adding grooming! It’s going to change my store, and it’s exciting and scary at the same time! — Anna Woodcock, Brown Dog Barkery, Ankeny, IA

Life on the Ranch

We are so busy! My family and I are moving from a suburban townhome to a 2.5-acre ranch in the country, complete with a corral, chicken coop and a 96,000-gallon pond with plenty of wildlife. We’ll Instagram our homestead life adventures soon! — Leel Michelle, Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe, San Diego, CA

The Next Level

I will be launching my e-commerce shopping for pickup or delivery this week. Hoping will take my little store to the next level. — Kimberly Gatto, The Wagging Tail, Las Vegas, NV

Cool, But …

I love the America’s Coolest Stores feature because the ideas inspire me to try new or different things in my stores. But the latest winner — while extremely cool — is more of an attraction or restaurant than a store. Maybe you need a new contest? — Keefer Dickerson, Nashville Pet Products, Nashville, TN

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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: Wellness Junkie “Coach Caitie” Teaches You to Care for Yourself as Well as You Care for Your Pets
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Wellness Junkie “Coach Caitie” Teaches You to Care for Yourself as Well as You Care for Your Pets

Podcast: Talking Cybersecurity, and Keeping Your Pet Business Safe Online
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Talking Cybersecurity, and Keeping Your Pet Business Safe Online

Podcast: Travel Deals for the Pet Pro on the Latest “Behind the Pages”
Behind the Pages

Podcast: Travel Deals for the Pet Pro on the Latest “Behind the Pages”

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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