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Editor's Note

Our Resolutions Include a New Look

With the launch of a new website and a refreshed design, we’re ready for 2019.

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NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK. You may notice the results of our own New Year’s resolution in the following pages. We have refreshed and updated the design of PETS+ in order to make our business-building advice even easier to consume and digest. (We like to think of ourselves as pet business nutritionists!)

Look out for new bells and whistles, like “Favorite Sellers” on our Products+ cover (page 13), in which we ask Brain Squad members what one product they find themselves recommending over and over again. We want readers to have the ability to give a shout out to those companies that not only manufacture great products for independent pet businesses but that also stand behind, even partner with, small businesses, recognizing how important they are to pet-owning consumers.

In our new design, you will see a lot more mentions of our companion website, petsplusmag.com — one of our other New Year’s resolution projects. If you haven’t been to our website in the past few weeks, you’re in for a surprise: We redesigned and rebuilt it from the ground up. You’ll find a vibrant, easy-to-navigate homepage, complete with news, favorite magazine features, photo galleries and educational videos. You’ll also find extra content we just didn’t have room for in the pages of PETS+.

And while it’s great that it’s so easy to search and navigate on a desktop computer, just wait until you try it on your mobile device. It’s going to give your kids another reason to remind you: No phones at the dinner table!
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We’re excited about the projects we have in store for the new year, and we’re encouraged to hear bullish predictions from our readers. Be sure to read some of those — and the overflow online — on page 8.

Best wishes for your business,
 
ralf signature

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

Five Great Tips From This Issue You Can Do Today

  1. Scour Craigslist for a real bakery case for your decorated biscuits. (Hot Sellers, page 14)
  2. Offer a seasonally themed scent-of-the-month spa package. (Hot Sellers, page 14)
  3. Buy discounted holiday cards now to send to your best customers in December. (The Big Story, page 25)
  4. Host a clearance sale with a “detox” theme. (The Big Story, page 25)
  5. Help your customers achieve their pets’ resolutions with a free weigh station. (Tip Sheet, page 38)

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

With the Wellness Summit, We’re Listening

Thanks to feedback, we’re planning a new Oct. 1-2 timeframe, nearby location and education schedule that coincides with buying.

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BY NOW, YOU’VE SEEN the ads for the PETS+ Wellness Summit, an event coming soon that combines business-building education, buying opportunities and networking with others in the industry — all centered on the vital topic of pet wellness. I’d like to take you behind the scenes in Summit planning for a moment.

As with everything we do here at PETS+, our first and last thoughts are about you. We’ve said since our first issue that our No. 1 rule is if it doesn’t help American pet business owners sell more, save more, manage better, or even just sleep better at night, it doesn’t go into PETS+. That rule applies to everything we put out, from our bulletins to the PETS+ Wellness Summit.

Part of meeting that standard means listening to you and including your voice in what we do. As soon as word of the Wellness Summit got out, we started hearing from you. We started listening, and then we started acting.

We’re thrilled that you’re as excited about it as we are, and we’re glad that, among other constructive comments, it was suggested our original schedule might be too long to be away from your business.

As a result of the feedback, we have tweaked the event in ways we believe will make it even more useful to you.

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The dates are now Oct. 1-2, and each day features a dose of education prior to the show floor opening, at lunch and in mid-afternoon.

The location has changed to the more intimate Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, IL, near Chicago’s airport, which makes it easier to get to if you happen to be flying in.

What has not changed is the value of the education sessions, covering CBD, raw food, raw alternatives, supplements, healthy play, aging and partnering with local vets.

Learn all the details and register at petsplusmag.com/summit. And never stop telling us what you think.

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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. Surprise yourself by asking a friend or relative to secret-shop your store. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)

2. If your professional accreditations aren’t hanging in your business or on your About Us page, they ought to be. (Manager’s To-Do List, page 12)

3. Check with your suppliers to see what deals or freebies they’ll offer your customers. (Hot Sellers, page 18)

4. Upsell your smelliest clients on aromatic shampoos. (Hot Sellers, page 18)

5. The time to begin posting holiday gift ideas to PInterest is now. (Tip Sheet, page 42)

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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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