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Claudia and Roy Loomis use the latest in retail technologies to evolve and expand a 50-year-old pet business.

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CB PET MARKET Washington, NJ

OWNERS: Claudia and Roy Loomis | FOUNDED: 2007 | LOCATIONS: 6 | SQUARE FEET: 4,000 Bedminster; 3,500 Garwood; 4,000 Clinton; 3,000 Washington; 1,500 Livingston; 1,500 Martinsville | EMPLOYEES: 30 fulltime, 12 part-time | URL: cbpetmarket.com | FACEBOOK: cbpetmarket | INSTAGRAM: cbpetmarket | TOP BRANDS: Stella & Chewy’s, Primal, Petcurean, Open Farm, Farmina, Nutrisource, Steve’s Real Food, Fromm, Annamaet, Nature’s Logic, Zignature, ACANA and Orijen, Pet Releaf, Kong, Fluff & Tuff


THE HISTORY OF CB PET MARKET goes back more than 50 years, to when Cherrybrook Pet Supplies began as a pop-up business selling to fanciers, breeders and groomers at dog shows. Claudia and Roy Loomis purchased Cherrybrook in 2005 to complement the thriving online pet products store they owned that served the same customers. The ultimate goal, though, was to expand beyond the dog fancy world.

“The growth was to help all pet parents, not just purebred-pet parents,” Claudia says, noting that the plan was to leverage Cherrybrook’s reputation to build a small chain of full-line brick-and-mortar stores in their home state of New Jersey. The first opened in 2007.

The couple has grown the business — rebranded as CB Pet Market in 2021 — to five stores, including two with grooming, plus one standalone salon. The locations vary in size, from 1,500 square feet to 4,000, but all share a distinctive look.

“Whether our customers see us on the road or at our store, we aim to make our branding known inside and out,” Claudia says. “Our delivery van is custom wrapped, and our stores have large signage stamped with our logo. We carry our brand colors of a natural green and vibrant teal throughout.”

The CB Pet Market brand retains the original fun and playful fruit-inspired logo of Cherrybrook Pet Supplies.

Also found across the chain, an exceptional customer experience made possible in part by the latest in retail technology, showing just how much the business has changed since its beginnings.

CONVENIENCE FACTOR

CB Pet Market makes it easy for customers to find the best products for their dogs, cats and small animals, without extensive research or other heavy lifting on their part.

“Customers know we stock the shelves with brands they can trust, and they know our team will take the extra time to read over every ingredient panel in the store until we find the one that best suits their pet,” Claudia says.

Technology helps make such in-depth, one-on-one conversations possible.

“We have embraced the ways that tech has enabled us to get our tasks done faster and more accurately, so we can spend more time with our customers,” Claudia says.

QR codes are found throughout CB Pet Market, with this one encouraging customer referrals.

For example, Astro Loyalty automatically tracks the store’s more than 60 frequent-buyer programs and numerous monthly promos, and fully integrates with the chain’s POS system from Pinogy. SPINS intelligence data shows how products are selling at independent pet retailers across the country, allowing for more efficient and effective buying. Grooming clients can call, email or text to book, while MoeGo will soon make online booking and other features possible.

Customers can shop online for home delivery by CB Pet Market staff, but also can order via DoorDash. Claudia says that while most DoorDash sales are one-offs, they still have value.

“The customers desperately need some things, and the orders are often unusual. For example, a bully stick and three cans of cat food, and not the 20-pound bag of dog food,” she says.

To offset the 15% DoorDash takes from the sale, staff include bounce-back coupons with every order. Claudia and Roy see these sales as marketing expenses, as the coupons have a 12% return rate, with 90% of those customers new to the store.

QR codes are another technology used for marketing. Many shelf-talkers in the store incorporate them for informational and promotional purposes, and customers can scan the “Refer a Friend Program” QR code to earn a $5 credit when the friend signs up for the store’s loyalty program.

This high-tech approach also applies to operations within the business. Staff use Microsoft Office tools, OneDrive, and SharePoint to communicate with each other and to share videos and information across all locations.

ANALYTICAL APPROACH

Claudia and Roy are especially proud of a program they created that uses technology to strengthen brand partnerships and boost revenue. Called the Retail Advertising Program (RAP), it involves selected vendor partners that pay to take part in chain-wide promotions via email, social media, in-store signage, displays and events. Twenty brands have taken part since its inception seven years ago, and Claudia says they see a 5% to 20% increase in sales, with newer brands getting the higher percentages.

“We can monitor the success of these offers by tracking sales,” she says. “We track overall sales, period over period and year over year. We can also track engagement on social media and open rates of our emails. We share this information with our RAP partners as well.”

Claudia sees the partnerships as exactly that, as brands get to choose which products get showcased and how, and even messaging for social posts. All of this saves marketing time for their team, and the cost of participating in the program covers any staff hours spent on the efforts.

They track RAP results and change the program accordingly. For example, the program initially emphasized emailing but now prioritizes in-store efforts because they prove to be more effective in boosting sales.

“It’s about measuring progress, and we’re very transparent with our vendor partners,” Claudia says, noting that they will suggest ideas to vendors based on what has or has not worked for others.

Analytics also allow for better targeting of email content. Using customer purchasing history, the store can segment by location, brand, or product or customer types such as raw feeders and those with cats, just to name two.

Roy and Claudia Loomis transformed Cherrybrook Pet Supplies into six CB Pet Market locations.

“We find this type of segmentation valuable to our business because we’re not flooding inboxes with content that is irrelevant,” Claudia says. “Instead, we provide customers with content tailored to them. This helps establish our credibility and increase engagement.”

And credibility and engagement are two qualities Claudia and Roy seek to continue cultivating as they strive to position CB Pet Market as the “neighborhood pet experts.” For Claudia, that ultimately comes down to helping pets and their people, now and into the future.

“We are seeing many more holistic remedies that are enabling pets to live longer and better lives,” she says. “That’s what it’s all about and why we’re here: to keep pets as vibrant and happy as long as possible.”

Five Cool Things About CB PET MARKET

1. PERSONAL TOUCH: CB Pet Market regularly sends greeting cards to customers thanking them for stopping in, congratulating them on a new pet, or offering condolences for a loss. Claudia says, “We treasure our customers, and we want to make sure they know it.”

2. COMMUNITY TIES: Among the many ways the stores support their local communities are by providing adoption bundle packages for shelters, donating food and grooming services to rescues, feeding K-9 officers and judging 4H competitions. Staff also take part in community events, pet days at local brew pubs and Bark in the Park with the Somerset Patriots.

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3. THE EXTRA MILE: Claudia and Roy encourage staff to work at locations away from their home store, and they reimburse them for mileage. “We want them to rotate to other stores so they get a greater sense of what CB Pet Market is all about than they would if they worked in just one location,” Claudia says. “It fosters teamwork.” Such efforts have helped keep staff retention for five years at 60%.

4. GIVE IT A SPIN: During special events, customers can “Spin the Wheel” to win prizes such as food from vendor partnerships, swag, store coupons and more. Claudia says, “It’s a wonderful way to engage and interact with our customers, and it helps get them in our door.”

5. WEIGH COOL: Stores have Farmina-branded weigh stations where customers can track their pet’s weight and seek customized feeding plans for their pet’s health goals.

JUDGES’ COMMENTS

Missy Limbeck, Pet Palette Distribution: Great use of floorspace and creating points of interest with multiple displays. I love how the dark cherry color of the wood floors makes their branding color teal pop throughout the space. The “spin the wheel” table is really fun!
Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy Inc: I love that even with six locations you still manage to add that personal touch sending personalized greeting cards to customers.
Peter Scott, American Pet Products Association: The owners and staff should be proud of their accomplishments and business.
Lyn M. Falk, Retailworks Inc.: Clean, bright and well merchandised interior. Branded wall colors and vinyl wood plank floor look professional. The QR codes on product lines are a great idea.
Katherine Carbonaro, Astro Loyalty: I’ve always loved their logo. That van is awesome!

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