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Letters from Our Readers for February

This is how you guys have started your year.

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365 Days, Made

I seriously have to thank you guys so much for your calendar inside your magazine this year. I have been looking for something similar to that for so long, and when I got your magazine in the mail and I found that calendar, you just made my day! I’ve added more things to it. (For example I think the 20th was National Hugging Day!) —Morgan Moses, Harley’s Bakery, Harrisonville, MO

What’s in Store

This year I have set personal realistic goals, not by dollar amounts but more tasks and things I would love to accomplish and offer my customers. I am currently completing an online pet nutritionist certification to offer the best care and knowledge to every customer. I am arranging for myself as well as my entire team to become certified in pet CPR and first aid. I am implementing a new grooming scheduling software for reminding texts, a text promotion app. I am always researching options for a website and ecommerce and possibly a vehicle for delivery of products. 2019 is off to a great start, can’t wait to see what this year has in store! —Taylor Gonzalez, Three Tails Parlor and Pantry, Columbia, IL

Great Start

We are off to a great start! Changing the way we do business and with whom we do business, looking at new avenues for advertising, and rewarding employees for their loyalty and helping our business grow. —Debbie Fazica, Pet X Supply & Tack, Howell, MI

Little Steps

Our new goal is to clear out half our counter and replace it with a cookie display case. We’re on day three … there’s already junk piling up … —Annabell Bivens, The Dog Store by Your Dog’s Best Friends, Alexandria, VA

Following Dreams

I knew that one day I would aspire to run a cat-inspired boutique. After two friends passed away from cancer, I was inspired to start one now. My friend Jodi left a career behind in 2012 to pursue her dream of being a successful dog walker/runner. As she saw her life slipping away (at age 39) she told all of us, “Don’t wait; follow your dreams!” So I am! I kept copies of PETS+ in my desk, and now that I’ve started getting my cat cafe up and running, I am bringing them all out and reading them again, cover to cover! —Tracy Stocker, When You’re Not There Pet Care, Tigard, OR

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Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 11 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 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

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

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Here Are Your Letters for January 2019

Some are excited, while some fear the uncertainties of 2019.

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Higher Payroll

2019 will bring higher payroll costs, as minimum wage increases take effect in Massachusetts. I believe in paying a living wage, so I support the increases. It will mean that I will be looking at raising my prices to keep pace. Lisa Kane, Wags Doggie Day Care And Training, Wenham MA

Imperative Niche

I believe the economy is still going strong and looks like more growth for everyone with a strong game. Gone are the days of just opening a store/service and resting on your laurels. Creating a unique ambiance or niche service is imperative to keeping ahead of the big-box stores and online competition. Leel Michelle, Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe, San Diego, CA

Uncertainty

I am looking at 2019 as one of uncertainty, with the potential for very positive outcomes, but also the very real possibility that things could go sour. On the positive side, the economy is doing well, and disposable income seems to be increasing slightly as employment remains strong and wages start to creep up. However, as we see in the recent stock market loses, there is a very real possibility that we may be heading for troubled times, especially if the tariff issue isn’t resolved quickly and positively. I see it as an either/or … which I don’t like. Kimberly Barnes, New England Dog Biscuit, Salem, MA

Engagement

2019 will be all about finding new ways to keep customers engaged. Are they getting bored with my Facebook page? What other avenues do I need to explore? What other services can I add to bring in my current customers more often while attracting new customers? Bakery? Freshly prepared meals? Dog-walking service? Home delivery? Michelle Nelson, The Pet Authority, Albert Lea, MN

Beneficial Results

I am betting that 2019 is going to be an amazing year for growth, both in business and personally. There are so many excellent resources available, including PETS+ magazine, that any concerted effort to keep up with the rising tide of pet ownership can be met with beneficial results. Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC

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More Reptiles, Please … and More of Your Letters for November

Readers love PETS+ daily emails.

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More Reptiles, Please

We love PETS+ and always will. The design of the magazine is top-notch. As a specialty store, we are always looking for more press in our target market, reptiles and aquariums, and would hope there are X number of pages consistently dedicated to this market in every issue. Robert Smith, Jungle Bob’s Reptile World, Selden, NY

Tariff Pressures

Vendors are pressuring small stores to “get your orders in now” in response to the new tariffs on Chinese goods. Will the manufacturers be passing the same 10 percent increase to big-box stores? It is my assumption that most people don’t have an emergency fund set for bulk buying because of new tariffs. The big question on all small business owners’s minds: What do you do in this situation? Raise prices? Eat the increase? Bulk-buy now? Most retail pet store owners I speak with already make minimal profit on cages to get the pets good homes and stay competitive with online monsters like Amazon and Walmart. How will the retailers battle this small margin product taking a 10 percent increase or possibly more? I seriously believe that if online retailers eat the increase or don’t get one you will find more and more brick-and-mortar stores thin their inventory of cages as they are not a big winner for us as a whole anyway and require huge commitments of space and financial resources. Sal Salafia, Exotic Pet Birds, Webster, NY

On Top of Things

Your daily email bulletins have provided me with information before my distribution reps found out. I always like to be on top of things, and they have really helped. Love the webinars and have learned much from them. James Henline, Asheville Pet Supply, Asheville, NC

Valuable for Staff

My team checks our mailbox daily, and rarely do they look at other pet magazines. Every time PETS+ arrives, I find them looking through it and showing me products/stories. I love that they have found this magazine and community valuable! Kara Holland, Pittsboro Pet Supply, Pittsboro, NC

Instant Feedback

I’m still pretty new to PETS+, but I love having the Facebook group for instant updates and the ability to ask other members questions and get instant feedback. Myra Tsung, Camp Kitty, Decatur, GA

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