Connect with us

Benchmarks

Make Your Cat Customers Feel at Home with a Dedicated Space to Merchandise

Some stores even have entire rooms dedicated to kitties.

mm

Published

on

WHEN CAT PEOPLE VISIT your store, how do you make them feel? Appreciated as pet product consumers? Or neglected, as you only offer them food and a few other items, with minimal merchandising? These businesses strive for the former. Some even have entire rooms dedicated to kitties!

Flying M Feed Co.

HOUSTON, TX

The cat section only takes up 100 of the store’s 4,000 square feet, but a mural and range of products welcome all friends of felines. “We have everything from Purina to Fromm to Lotus, wet and dry. Inaba Ciao treats such as the yogurt sticks and vacuum-sealed filets,” owner Trace Menchaca says. “We try to find really amazing new products from companies like Polydactyl and Dezi & Roo. We also have remedies and supplements, and we sell World’s Best Cat Litter. Meowijuana, of course, too.”
Tip: Consider hosting an annual sale like Flying M’s Catapalooza, which offers a gift with $20 purchase.

Wags to Whiskers

PLAINFIELD, IL

Janelle Pitula shows her affection for felines with the store’s “Kitty Corner,” which features 137 flavors of canned food alone, plus five dry, four raw and four freeze-dried brands. A variety of supplies completes the 150-square-foot section (of 1,000 total). A charming touch: Colorful decals make cats appear to sit on the area’s thermostat and freezer.
TIP: Pitula points out about cat food, “Same margins as dog food, takes up less space.” Consider expanding your offerings.

Advertisement

Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage

GREENFIELD, IN

The cat room at this store does double duty. Not only will customers find a carefully curated selection of products presented with cozy, country charm, but those looking to adopt can sit and spend time with a foster kitty from the local humane society. Co-owners Samantha and Kim Youngblood added the 255-square-foot room (of 1,200 total) six months ago and are glad they did.
“We’ve seen an increase in sales,” Samantha says. “We also try to educate cat parents that it is just as important to feed fresh, use safe cat toys, supplements, etc. for a cat as it is for a dog. They are really responding.”

Noble Beast Natural Market for Pets

PHOENIX, AZ

In 2017, Marsha Vallee and Alison Chandler saw their sales of frozen raw cat food begin to climb. They built on that momentum by devoting 510 of their 1,560 retail square footage to felines.
“We were able to expand our food lines and bring in more supplies just for the kitties,” Vallee says. “Customers really appreciate the care and variety of fun new things they see in our cat room.”
Among the many offerings in this colorful, whimsically merchandised space are items from Kate Benjamin’s Hauspanther line with Primetime Petz. She curates her section for the store and shops there for her clowder.
While Vallee and Chandler don’t track overall sales by species, they can point to a specific brand as a sign of the room’s success: Fromm cat food sales have increased by 17 percent.

Advertisement

Moore Equine Feed & Supply

SOUTHERN PINES, NC

5 Cats get their own window display and adjacent 250-square-foot section (of 2,500 total) at this store. Co-owner Kaily Meeks says they began expanding pet offerings, including creation of “Cat Land,” in summer 2017, and “have seen sales grow at an exponential rate.”
Best-selling raw foods include Primal, Answers and Stella & Chewy’s, and Fromm leads kibble and canned food sales. Karma Cat caves add color and whimsy to the section.

Bones2Go!

HOUSTON, TX

Tracey Rentcome specializes in raw food, with the majority of her customers shopping for dogs. That doesn’t mean, though, that those with kitties get slighted.
“People who come in to buy food for their cats want the same experience, actually an even better one, that they get at a big-box store,” she says. “They want to look at different products, see new ones and feel up on the latest trends.”
With that in mind, Rentcome gave her freezer room a feline theme. Toys, scratchers, treats and other products line one wall, and cat shelves wrap around so store pet Devil Kitty can oversee his department from on high.

Pamela Mitchell is the senior editor at PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Spot the senior Boston Terrier as her assistant.

Benchmarks

Check Out These 11 Cool Pet-Business Checkout Counters

Make ringing up a sale a memorable experience.

mm

Published

on

THE BEST CHECKOUT COUNTERS make a statement, but such statements can vary in size. One can be big and bold in a store with ample square footage, while another can be small and subtle in a limited spaced. This collection of counters includes both.

Dee-O-Gee

BOZEMAN & BILLINGS, MT
The checkout counters at these stores feature a stainless steel top and oversized portraits of dogs at area parks. Josh Allen keeps counter space clear for the most part. “Our goal is for clients to feel welcome — for them to be able to pile bags of food along with retail merchandise and not feel like they are taking up a bunch of space or that their products are falling all over the place. We want them to have as much space as they need.”

$4,000

TIP: Less is more. “Business cards and then one to two small items at each POS. We rotate these items often to keep it fresh for regulars.”

Dog Krazy

RICHMOND, VA
Nancy and Chris Guinn took the DIY route when building out their fourth location. Chris created this checkout counter from displays left behind by the previous tenant, a men’s clothing store. He added black paint and a tile top, plus drawers and shelves inside, and a bakery case on one end. Chris also designed and laid tile in front with the store’s logo.

$600

TIP: Use the counter only for checking out customers. Nancy says, “We spend most our time on the sales floor and not behind the desk to give all of our customers that one-on-one experience!”

Advertisement

Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe

SAN DIEGO, CA
Store color mint green covers this checkout counter that Leel Michelle built to fit her space. With the adjacent bakery case and dog-level sign, it makes the perfect backdrop for photos. A minimal mix of last-minute items and decor, such as an old-fashioned pink scale, are strategically placed on top.

$600

TIP: “Ladies, learn how to use electric and hand tools! Those skills come in handy being a small-business entrepreneur!”

Godfrey’s – Welcome to Dogdom

MOHNTON, PA
Barb Emmett hired a cabinetmaker to create her checkout counter, plus a back counter with display area. The latter helps set the tone for her store. “I truly love the arts, so I want to include items unique to us or our area, and made by local juried craftspeople. We are about the celebration of people and their dogs, finding products that are carefully curated and are of high quality, carrying through to the high level of services provided.”

$3,000

TIP: Offer free treats to people, too. Emmett keeps a dish filled with snack-size candies on the counter.

Odyssey Pets

DALLAS, TX
This circular counter features dual designs and has multiple purposes. Striking stainless steel wraps around the front, where customers check out. Wooden slatwall covers the back enclosure, where small daycare dogs nap and play. Shape and location forces shoppers into a racetrack pattern when walking the store, Sherry Redwine points out. “My staff can see almost every area from the register, which helps with customer service and deters theft.”

$10,000

TIP: Tempt with treats. “People will buy a last-minute bully stick at the register just because it’s there.”

Bubbly Paws

ST. LOUIS PARK, MN
Keith and Patrycia Miller had their architect design this wooden checkout counter. It had to fit into the pet wash and grooming salon’s overall design, but also Keith says, “We wanted something sturdy that could handle a large dog being clipped to it and not pull it over.”

$2,500

TIP: Consider carabiners. “We try to make it as easy as possible for customers to go hands-free while making sure the dog is still leashed.”

Loyal Biscuit Co.

ROCKLAND, ME
This checkout counter painted in store color lime green does double duty. “Our logo also makes a great backdrop for photos,” Heidi Neal points out. Customers can even put their dog in a sit and back up to shoot, thanks to a boat cleat that holds leashes tight. Joel Neal created the counter using lumber, sheetrock and laminate.

$600

TIP: Be strategic in what you place on top, both in terms of appeal and aesthetic. Heidi says, “I didn’t do a great job at concealing computer wires, so I try to pick tall things to hide those.”

Furry Friends Inc.

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
Debbie Brookham inherited her checkout counter from the previous tenant, but she made it her own with a coat of pink paint and a surprise for canine customers. “I decided to put mirrors on it because I know how dogs love to look at themselves. This has totally worked, and we love the cuteness factor it brings out in our furry friends.”

$0

TIP: “Change your counter up all the time. People like to look at interesting items while checking out, and you just might make some extra money.”

Advertisement

Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage

GREENFIELD, IN
To suit her store’s country-chic aesthetic, Samantha Youngblood created a counter base from scrap wood and repurposed barn metal. Wood from her family’s tree farm became the top. Two tiers — “one for the customer to set the products on and another for ringing up and bagging” — help keep checkout orderly and efficient. The bottom level doubles as a gift-wrapping surface, complete with a hanging roll of craft paper.

$20

TIP: Clamp mason jars to the counter’s side to keep scissors and pens handy without taking up surface space.

Razzle Dazzle Doggie Bow-Tique

BRADLEY, IL
Jodi Etienne knew exactly what she wanted in a checkout counter, so she asked her husband, Steve, to build it. He combined repurposed kitchen cabinets with custom sections to create the base, then covered it with tongue-and-groove siding, which Jodi painted white. They poured and sealed concrete for the top. A gate contains “assistant managers in training.”

$1,000

TIP: Brave DIY to save money on labor. Jodi says of her husband, “He is not a professional, but he is a perfectionist. He learned from YouTube videos.”

Animal Connection

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
When Pattie Boden saw an antique oyster-shucking table in a small country store on Virginia’s coast, she knew it would be her checkout counter. “It was a little beat up, but I liked it that way. I just cleaned the legs and did some butcher’s wax on the top boards.”

$300

TIP: Personalize your checkout. “We surround our area with pictures of our own dogs, cats and horses, and create a family gallery.”

Urban Dog Barkery

HOUSTON, TX
Teresa Bues creates an impulse-buy zone around her checkout counter. “We stash treats and perhaps some human items along with decorated treats. Behind the counter, we put items we feel are things we want people to see when they are standing there. It has helped with sales.” The counter came together from a work table she found on the property and leftover “stainless” material from another project.

$0

TIP: Point out that hooks for leashes also work for purses, so customers don’t have to put their bags on the counter or floor.

Continue Reading

Benchmarks

13 Unique Business Cards to Inspire You

Old-school but effective, business cards remain a quick, cheap, easy way to market your business.

mm

Published

on

HOW LONG DOES IT take to hand someone your business card? One second. Maybe a smidge longer if you must dig the card out of your bag or wallet. A business card remains the fastest way to share information in person. The best cards also boost brand awareness, list social media channels, and/or provide an incentive to make a purchase or use a service. These six stand out from the stack.

Homeward Bound Animal Care

GILFORD, NH

Alix Marcoux DiLorenzo touts her company’s more than 15,000 walks to date on the front of its business card. On the back, she features animals in her care — a selection of 15 adorable dogs and cats. “It’s fun to let people pick out their favorite. With so many different photos, they’re likely to find a pet they relate to in the bunch, which helps break the ice with a potential client.”

Price: 24 cents each, plus design services

Source: moo.com

Tip: Don’t settle. “I didn’t love the first design presented to me, and I let the designer know I wasn’t blown away. We worked together to come up with something that represented the Homeward Bound brand.”

Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage

GREENFIELD, IN

The design aesthetic of their business extends to its card. “We own an all-natural animal care center, and we love flowers and soft colors … this card reminded us of purity, nature, organic and a feeling of peace,” Samantha Youngblood says.

Price: 4 cents each

Source: vistaprint.com

Tip: “Find a design that fits your vibe, and don’t be afraid to go through few designs before you find the ‘one’ you love!”

Wishbone Pet Care

MISSOURI CITY, TX

Store color orange catches the eye of potential customers, and Tammi Bui keeps their atttention by listing multiple deals. She even tells them how to get more via text message.

Price: 4 cents each

Source: vistaprint.com

Tip: Formerly employed as a graphic designer, she shares: “People will keep a color business card longer” than a white one.

Loyal Biscuit Co.

FIVE STORES IN MAINE

This store has five locations, and many customers shop at more than one. With that in mind, Heidi Neal noted which offer self-service bathing on the front of its business card and put addresses for all on the back. “I’m also in love with our logo and wanted to make sure that was prominent.”

Price: 7 cents each

Source: vistaprint.com

Tip: Order in small quantities so as to not waste cards when updates are needed.

Flying M Feed Co.

HOUSTON, TX

Trace Menchaca upgraded from paper to wood for her personal business cards.

“As a recipient of thousands of cards, there are many that I’ve kept, but only one that really stood out: It was made of real wood. I put out traditional cards on our counter, but for distributors, vendors and business networking, I had to have these. I get tons of compliments and everyone keeps them.” From cards-ofwood.com, the material suits the store’s logo, a burned brand. She orders a variety of tree species.

Price: 35 cents each

Source: cardsofwood.com

Tip: Include “cardsofwood.com” on card to get a 5 percent discount.

Wag Central

STRATFORD, CT

A bone shape helps this card stand out, as does listing store pet Lady Lulu as Chief Tail Wagger.

Price: 40 cents each, plus initial design services

Source: ghpmedia.com

Tip: Be different. Owner Angela Pantalone says, “I definitely wanted a unique design and not something that everyone else has been using. I have yet to see another outfit with a bone-shaped card! Win!”

Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe

SAN DIEGO, CA

Leel Michelle carried her store’s trademark pink, green and Mumsie the Poodle through to its business card. The loyalty program and social media channels help fill the back.

Price: 15 cents each, plus initial design services

Source: gotprint.com

Tip: “Make your corners rounded so they don’t get damaged as easily while in wallets, purses and such.”

Dogaholics

CHICAGO, IL

This business card doubles as a lead generator. Potential clients can visit adogaholicsguide.com, provide their email address and get a free downloadable pet-parenting guide. Employees can then follow up. Candace D’Agnolo uses photos of clients on the cards.

Price: 7 cents each

Source: 48hourprint.com

Tip: “It’s nice to say, ‘Take my card and download our free pet parenting guide.’”

Birds Unlimited

WEBSTER, NY

After a cluttered business card that included way too much information, Paul Lewis decided that a just-the-basics approach worked best for his store. He has two versions, one with a grooming appointment reminder for those customers and another without for business associates and fellow trade show attendees.

Price: 5 cents each

Source: Local printer

Tip: Work with a local printer whenever possible.

Camp Dogwood

LAKE DELTON, WI

A photo of her husband, Al Edelman, and dog, Stella Blue, captures the essence of Alysa Slay’s camp for people and pets, and takes up the front of this business card. The back contains includes info.

Price: 40 cents each, plus initial design services

Source: vistaprint.com

Tip: “Don’t cheap out. Get the good paper stock and finish, make it visually appealing.

Scout & Zoe’s

ANDERSON, IN

“My inspiration for this business card was the best photo of the three of us we have ever taken,” Cindy Dunston Quirk says. “When I look at it now, especially since Zoe crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2014, I see and feel the love I have for both of them and the unconditional love they have for me.” The photo also embodies what her treat company stands for, she adds.

Price: 53 cents each, plus initial design services

Source: moo.com

Tip: “Opt for something a bit different, whether that is in the design, stock that is used or the shape of the card. I definitely wouldn’t go smaller than a standard size card since those can be lost or misplaced very easily.”

 

Busch Pet Products

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO

Buschie, the store mascot, appears with his kitty sidekick on all marketing materials, including this business card.

Price: 5 cents each, plus initial design services

Source: vistaprint.com

Tip: “Whatever you decide to do with your design, my best suggestion is to make it memorable, so customers will always know what your passion is.

Lucky Dogs

SKANEATELES, NY

Clean and not cluttered was the design goal for this card, DIY designed by Amy Schiek. For example, instead of listing social media URLs, she simply uses their logs and trusts that customers can find her easily through search.

Price: 5 cents each

Source: vistaprint.com

Tip: “Don’t forget to print on the back of the card! The front of our card lists the traditional ways to get ahold of us: phone number, email, and website. I used the back of the cards to call out our social media tags. Whenever we talk to customers about posting their pet photos on social media and tagging us, we give them one of our business cards to help them remember.”

Continue Reading

Benchmarks

Make Your Pet Business Irresistible on the Road with an Awesome Booth

Take inspiration from these examples.

mm

Published

on

FESTIVAL SEASON WILL be here before you know it. Or perhaps outdoor events happen year-round in your area. Either way, put together a booth for your pet business that pulls passersby from the crowd. These businesses show how an event booth can expand your presence in the community, attract new customers and ring up sales.

Bark On Mulford

ROCKFORD, IL

With her store just over a year old, Kaye Busse-Kleber uses a variety of events to attract new customers. She fills a table with items that offer immediate gratification, such as tasty treats and colorful bandanas.

“People purchased and put them on the dogs right then,” Busse-Kleber says of the accessories. “It added to the festivities.”

Tip: Merchandise during prep. “I organize stuff in assorted baskets/containers while packing at my store,” Busse-Kleber shares. “That way, it’s minimal setup/teardown at the event.”

Wishbone Pet Care

MISSOURI CITY, TX

Tammi Bui sets up a booth each year at the Fort Bend Pet Expo, among other pet-centric events, offering those who adopt a dog that day a free nail trim or bath coupon. Some of the pups become grooming clients for life. Other giveaways include shampoo samples, dog tags and branded poop bags, and she offers food and treats for sale.

Price of Custom Table Runner: $70 | Source: Vistaprint

Tip: “Bring one of your most outgoing staff with you, someone not shy, to talk to people walking by your booth.”

Advertisement

Pawz On Main

COTTONWOOD, AZ

Her store may be in a tourist area, but Denise Strong attends festivals to meet more locals.
“They keep our doors open with their repeat business. We hand out gift bags with free samples of dog foods and treats.”
Strong recreates her store outside, down to the sign with leopard-print border. At a recent event, dogs could get their nails painted for a donation to local rescues.

Tip: “Purchase quality tent, tables, tablecloths and signage. Your booth is a full representation of your storefront. Perception is reality!”

Dog Krazy

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS, VA

Let’s face it: Smooch the Pooch serves as the main draw at Dog Krazy’s booth. How could anyone resist a kiss from Pork Wonton. He — along with other store pets — joins Nancy and Chris Guinn at a variety of events.
“We try to do as many as possible because pet lovers are everywhere,” she says.
Their most successful 2018 setup was at Virginia PrideFest. Attendees who followed Dog Krazy on social media were invited to spin a wheel to win a prize, among them a pooch smooch from Porkie (below left) or Clovis (below right). The store gained 500 followers that day. Event-specific selfie frames were also a hit.

Price of Canopy: $700 | Source: ABC Canopy

Tip: Stand out. “Bright yellow was the perfect choice, as most people pick white or a darker color,” Nancy explains. “You cannot miss the Dog Krazy booth!”

All Pet Supplies & Equine Center

SPRINGFIELD, MO

Visitors to this store’s booth can shop the Raw Bar, buy a toy and even play Dip Your Dog a Bone, which encourages kids to dip and decorate a treat. Jan Guin sets up at three pet-centric events each year to meet potential new customers.

Tip: Sell instead of sample. “We love handing out samples of dog food, but people take more than their share, so that’s frustrating to monitor,” she says. “We decided we might as well sell something, and who doesn’t like buying their dog a treat?”

Advertisement

Bubbles & Beyond Pet Salon

TOPTON, PA

Kelly Reed has three goals with each event her grooming salon sets up at: “Give back to clients, make personal connections with prospective clients, and inform the community about grooming and their pet’s well-being.”
Products for sale, giveaways and grooming literature are available, and event-goers can snap a pic with the salon mascot in the Bubbles & Beyond photo booth, “with the hope that it will be shared on social media,” she says.

Tip: “Do your research and target the events you think will generate the new business you’re seeking.”

Pupology

GEORGETOWN, TX

Janet Cesarini doesn’t set up a booth for her business at area events. The booth IS her business. She does not have a brick-and-mortar location, but instead sets up at events and dog-friendly locations every weekend from March through December.

“Events are my main income producer, so my goal is sales,” Cesarini says. “I also collect emails for marketing and promote my social media channels to increase followers.”

Her tent proves versatile as it has sides that can open and close like a shower curtain. She uses shelving, tables and fixtures from IKEA, Hobby Lobby and even Goodwill, and pop-up slatwall offers further display options.

Price of Tent: $300 | Source: Sam’s Club

Tip: “Look at Pinterest for ideas, make a planogram and practice setting up your booth before the day of your event. There’s a big difference between your planogram and real life.”

Advertisement

Yarn & Bone Pet Supply Co.

CAMDEN, DE

Matthew Moorefield and Michael Morris set up at regular and pet-centric festivals alike to boost awareness of their store. Their most successful event in 2018 was The Bug and Bud Festival.

“We had a lot of customers return to both our Camden and Rehoboth Beach stores with coupons,” Moorefield says.

Tip: “Don’t overthink the booth. Try to capture your store in 10 by 10 area.”

Continue Reading

Most Popular