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Editor's Note

Live Your Life Like a Pet Business Superhero

This month, we give eight pet pros the whole superhero-in-a-cape comic-book treatment.

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SHAWNA SCHUH hits it right on the mark in her column this issue (page 44), when she tells us “Your life is like a novel.” Surrounding that statement, she makes a case for telling the story of yourself and your business in the fashion of a binge-worthy TV series — one so engaging, you can’t help but keep coming back for more.

She’s right: Your life is like a novel. So’s mine. So’s that guy’s across the street. It’s all in finding the right way to look at it and tell the story. Often, though, we’re so in the thick of things, it’s hard to see it that way.
It’s in that same spirit of stepping back from the mundane to view our lives, workdays and businesses from a different — even fantastic — perspective that we bring you this issue’s Big Story: “The Super 8.”

Ask any of the eight featured pet pros whether they think what they do daily is worthy of the whole superhero-in-a-cape comic-book treatment, and they’d probably just shrug it off. (Isn’t that just like a superhero for you?)
But by the PETS+ way of thinking, that’s being far too modest.

We think what every one of you is doing every day deserves the same sort of recognition, the same view from a different perspective and the same go-get-’em pat on the back.

Here at PETS+, we received a piece of news recently that had a similar effect on us.

Just as we were wrapping up our second year of publication, we received word that our February 2018 issue took gold in the General B2B category of the Folio: Eddie Awards for magazine excellence. (In silver and bronze positions were two magazines that have been around a total of 180 years.) And, senior editor Pamela Mitchell scored two honorable mentions for stories she wrote this year.

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Does that make us cape-worthy? Maybe not so much as The Listener (page 34) or Super Pet Food Man (page 36), but we’re hoping binge-worthy, at least.

Wishing you the best in business,

 

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Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Do Today

  1. Dec. 21 is Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, and we’re envisioning you and your staff in awful sweaters, overseeing a crowd of pets and their owners in a pageant for the ugliest. (Calendar, Page 10)
  2. The perfect holiday season sales opener? “Does your dog have a present under the tree for Christmas?” … “No?! Well don’t be a Grinch! Let’s find them something special.” (To-Do List, Page 12)
  3. Bundle broken treats from your bar in individual bags, priced at $1.99. (Hot Sellers, Page 16)
  4. Cat food has the same margins as dog food but takes up less space. Expand your offerings. (Benchmarks, Page 46)
  5. Try a pet-name-of-the-day promo to lure in customers. (Tip Sheet, Page 53)

Ralf Kircher is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. He has worked with SmartWork Media since 2006, and is the busy father of a son and three Jack Russells.

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Editor's Note

For the Wellness of Your Business

By our measure, nothing says “cool” like a healthy business.

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THE WINNERS OF THE 2019 America’s Coolest Stores Contest we feature in this issue prove that “cool” can take many forms. In the top three alone, we have Bar K, a membership-based dog park and restaurant enjoyed equally by humans and their pups; Wag Central, whose human equivalent may just be Club Med; and Barker’s Lane, a grooming salon so luxurious, people have been known to come in without their dogs.

While these three non-traditional pet businesses — as well as the nine slightly more traditional honorable mentions, which will be featured at length in upcoming issues — come from all points on the pet business spectrum, every winner has one important element in common: Each celebrates that special bond between pets and people, and — just as your own business does (or ought to!) — each accomplishes that in a unique way.

We hope you learn from these businesses and take away ideas to incorporate in your own to make it into something as cool as these.

In that spirit, PETS+ is offering a way this fall to help you both celebrate the bond between pets and their owners as well as differentiate your business from the rest.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, we’re hosting the PETS+ Wellness Summit just outside Chicago. We understand that one of the most important priorities of your customers — and your business — is the health and well-being of their pets. And we know the range of products and developments in the pet wellness sector can be dizzying and complicated.

So for three days, we are bringing together experts, vendors, retailers and service providers for education, buying opportunities and networking — all centered on the subject of wellness.

Register to attend free today and learn more here: petsplusmag.com/summit.

And may your business be both cool and well.

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Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

    1. Sign up today to attend the PETS+ Wellness Summit Sept. 30-Oct. 2. (Calendar, page 14)
    2. Develop a product launch plan and schedule training sessions for those SuperZoo purchases. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 18)
    3. Create an infographic for your social media feeds. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 18)
    4. Introduce customers to raw food with 99-cent single-serving samples. (Hot Sellers, page 24)
    5. Download a workbook to help you choose which social media platform is best for your business to focus on. (Columns, page 59)

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Editor's Note

Business-Building Advice on the Go

Read PETS+ in print or online, watch PETS+ Live! webinars, and now, listen to a new monthly podcast.

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WE AT PETS+ ARE always looking for new ways to deliver business-building advice. We have, of course, the print magazine you’re holding in your hands. Our e-bulletins, packed with industry news, arrive in your inbox six days a week.

Our website is being constantly updated with online extras that won’t fit into the magazine. Our Facebook community lets you carry on the conversation with your peers. And twice a month, Pet Boss Nation’s Candace D’Agnolo brings you interviews and instruction in our PETS+ Live! webinars.

Beginning this month, we’re expanding our lineup with the “Beyond the Pages” podcast, hosted by Keith Miller.

As you may know, Keith and his wife, Patrycia, own Bubbly Paws, a chain of self-service dog washes in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The St. Louis Park location was featured as a Cool Store in these pages in February 2018. What you may not know about Keith is he has a background as a radio producer and does monthly TV spots on his local NBC affiliate.

In “Beyond the Pages,” Keith combines all his skills to bring you in-depth conversations with experts in a variety of fields that we’re sure you’re going to find extremely useful and an entertaining way to spend a half hour or so.

Two episodes — one on building a killer website and one on getting the most out of social media — are already available here: petsplusmag.com/education/podcasts.

Look out for future episodes on such topics as how to hire and maintain millennial employees, what type of insurance policies your business should have, choosing the right POS software — even what’s hot at SuperZoo — when they are released on the first Friday of the month. And stay tuned for info on how to subscribe on your favorite podcast service.

And remember, no matter in what form you consume advice from PETS+, we want to hear what you think.

Best wishes for your business,

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

  1. Think back to your most successful promotion over the past couple of years. Got it? OK, now repeat it. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)
  2. Think of the top 10 reasons people call you and then put the info on an FAQ page on your website. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)
  3. Offer behavior consults to properly place pups into your longer-term training programs. (Hot Sellers, page 16)
  4. Need Instagram inspiration? Post local places folks can take their pets. (Columns, page 40)
  5. Assign job candidates the task of creating a short video of themselves explaining what they have to offer. (Columns, page 41)

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Editor's Note

Better Buying, Thanks to Peers

Here’s to the readers willing to share with the world what works for them.

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EVERY ISSUE IN PETS+, we bring you features designed to help you make better buying decisions, so you can sell more products and services to your customers.

Our Hot Sellers section (page 18) asks Brain Squad members to tell us what sold well in the previous month and why.

Our Favorite Sellers mini-column (page 17), gives space for one reader to share his or her favorite product to sell — and, importantly, why.

Both allow real retailers and service providers to share what works for them and to give credit to the suppliers or manufacturers where it’s due.

We believe there are no better endorsements of products or services than those from people who are in the business of dealing with end consumers every day and of knowing what they need and what suits them best.

In this issue’s Big Story, “Brands Indies Love” (page 32), we take that belief a step further.

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We asked readers to tell us the suppliers who give them the most support — companies that view retailers as partners, not simply as conduits for their products or as accounts in a spreadsheet.

We also asked manufacturers to tell us ways in which they help and stand behind their wholesale customers.

I should point out here that we list these companies regardless of whether they spend their advertising dollars with us — a reminder of our editorial golden rule we have stood by since our first issue: If a story doesn’t help American pet business owners sell more, manage better, or even just sleep easier at night, it doesn’t go in PETS+.

The companies listed in “Brand Indies Love” is by no means exhaustive. We hope to revisit this subject in the future, and we invite readers and suppliers alike to alert us of great things they are doing.

Meantime, see you at Global! Stop by our booth — 4039 — and tell us what you’re buying in person.

Best wishes for your business,

ralf signature

Ralf Kircher
Editor-in-Chief, Pets+
ralf@petsplusmag.com

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

  1. Build in more time for tax prep this year. It may take longer due to the new tax law and lingering effects of the shutdown. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 14)
  2. For even more marketing inspiration, download the 2019 PetPR.com/FWVFetching calendars. (Service Shorts, page 28)
  3. Don’t normally sell online? Try a one-day online certificate sale. (Hot Sellers, page 18)
  4. Running late today? A dozen donuts is worth 1,000 apologies. (Tip Sheet, page 50)
  5. If you haven’t raised your service prices in a year or more, it’s time for some research. (Columns, page 54)

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