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PETS+ Readers Share What They Are Most Looking Forward to in 2021

Not surprisingly, a vaccine and travel were tops, and many are excited about the possibilities of the new year.

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In our December Brain Squad survey, we asked members what they were most looking forward to about 2021. Not surprisingly, a COVID-19 vaccine was a top answer, as was being able to travel again and other signs of a return to normalcy. Many, though, said they are looking forward to what the new year will bring to an industry changed by the pandemic.

A VACCINE

  • I’m really looking forward to a vaccine so we can fly to meet my new nieces! Business may not be as great as in 2019, things may take a while to turn around, but we will survive this, and as long as we do, the most important thing to me is being able to spend time with the people I love who I haven’t been able to see. Life is too short to stress too much about work, even when it’s your own business. — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA
  • I’m looking forward to a vaccine so we can get back to regular participation numbers for boarding (please go on vacation!) and daycare. Operating a biz in the red sucks!—  Marcia Cram, Just Fur Pets, Springfield, VA
  • A vaccine! Hopefully things can get a little more normal. I will love the day we can ditch masks! — Anna Woodcock, Brown Dog Bakery, Ankeny, IA

THE POSSIBILITIES

  • It would be cliche to write off 2020 as one of the worst years most of us have ever experienced. While this is true for many, especially those who lost loved ones, it was also a time that offered opportunities for incredible personal and business growth. I have seen many amazing pivots that have created additional revenue streams for businesses. I have talked with people who have had impactful personal epiphanies. I believe 2021 will allow us to reap the harvest of the seeds that were planted in what only appeared to be devastated soil. We will see a beneficial shift in the ways many things are done, as our society was shaken out of the complacency it had settled into. I look forward to experiencing the best of all the ideas born out of a year that too many people will simply write off. — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC
  • Because we’re so new, I’m looking forward to seeing a full year to compare to! — Carly Patryluk, House of Paws Pet Boutique, Regina, SK, Canada
  • I’m excited about what the new year will bring for my business. We started in August 2020, so it will be interesting to see how the business changes as COVID-19 dissipates. — Shannon Heitt, Wiggles and Whiskers Pet Supplies, Unity, SK, Canada
  • A new year. 2020 was for the birds because they could fly away. I’m excited to have the opportunity to educate all of the people who adopted and purchased pets during the pandemic. — Adrian Archie, petNmind, Coconut Creek FL
  • We are looking forward to moving past this virus and being able to help people even more to make their pets happy and healthy. — Comora Tolliver, Barkers Anonymous, Hendersonville, NC
  • The feeling of a fresh start. Keto. The PETS+ coming. It’s so useful for a single entrepreneur all alone in the industry trying to figure things out. — Rhonda Hobbs, Gurrs & Purrs, DeLand, FL
  • I have to stay positive (and smart) as I navigate through this pandemic. I feel the weight, the gravity of keeping my employees, my customers — and me — safe! If we go down, my business goes down, and I’m not going to let that happen. Other than that, I’m just rollin’ with it and looking forward to what 2021 has to bring! — Lisa Boegl, Eldorado Country Pet, Santa Fe, NM
  • A new year full of life. — Carol Butd, 2 Paws 4 U Pet Bakery, Joliet, IL

MOVING, EXPANDING

  • We are moving to a new space! After 25 years in the same space, we are ready for a change and are super excited. — Karen Conell, The Bark Market, Delavan, WI
  • Opening boarding. Full-size, floor-to-ceiling suites. In cats, you can always expand your reach. — Rachel Diller, The Poodle Shop, Littleton, CO
  • Driving my new delivery vehicle with the life-size Labrador Retriever on the top all around town… and expanding my delivery business! — Pattie Zeller, Animal Connection, Charlottesville, VA
  • I hope people start to travel again! We are working on opening a third location in Connecticut, and I am looking forward to moving on that project after putting it on hold for the past six months! — Krista Lofquist, Wagging Tails, Wolcott, CT

NORMALCY, A RESTART

  • I’m not looking forward to solving the world’s problems, just to helping customers solve their pet-keeping problems. A little normalcy in the supply chain (livestock and dry goods) would be nice, but our creative solution muscles are looking pretty buff. — Liz Harris, Creatures Featured, Madison, FL
  • Freedom! — Janice Anderson, Anderson Acres, Bakersfield, CA
  • A better year. — Mary Simpson, E & M Pets, Countryside, IL
  • We just want a fresh start with a brand-new year. Buh-bye, 2020! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. — Jodi Etienne, Razzle Dazzle Doggie Bow-tique, Bradley, IL
  • Getting things back to “normal,” where we don’t have this constant fear, anger and sadness hanging around. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are still in the tunnel, and it’s a long dark tunnel. But at least we know we’ll get to the end in 2021!—  Andy Wiltz, Woof’s Play & Stay, Merriam, KS
  • I am looking forward to clients being able to travel more! (Shoot, me too!) — Amber Van Denzen Suarez, Atta Boy! Animal Care Pet Sitting + Dog Walking, Mulberry, FL
  • Getting back to normal again. Being able to do fun store events, attend trade shows, take a vacation, see family, all the fun stuff! 2020 has been a challenge. — Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee, WA
  • Looking forward to the end of COVID-19 and not having to worry so much about sanitizing, wearing masks, and keeping distanced from customers. — Dana Rice, Dog Wild Pet Supplies & Resort, Cooperstown, NY
  • I’m really looking forward to business (hopefully) picking up again. I hope that our clients will be able to do all the things they had to cancel or reschedule, so our boarding numbers go back up, and that people can go back to work, so our daycare program will be booming again (only once it’s all safe to do so again, of course). — Natalie Bosch, Albany Pet Hotel, Albany, OR
  • Getting rid of the lockdowns and getting back to business. — Roncy Roehm, Canyon Pet Lodge, Puyallup, WA
  • People no longer wearing masks. I hate them! — Ron Keller, Captivating Canines, Westerville, OH

CONCERNS

  • Not everyone shared what they were looking forward to — many had concerns.
  • We’re anticipating 2021 as another year of change with anticipating how customer shopping habits will change for the long term, brand and distributor consolidation, and the continued channel disruption with brands moving from independents to big-box shops. — Jeff Jensen, Four Muddy Paws, St Louis, MO
  • Biggest concern: Trying to compete with the marketing and online presence of Chewy.com and other big corps. Our budgets are a drop in the bucket compared to theirs. — Janet Cesarini, Pupology, Georgetown, TX
  • We need to continue to focus on getting customers to shop local, even if that’s with online. — Jeff Nagarah, Premier Pet Supply, Rochester Hills, MI
  • I’m grateful that our industry remains essential. However, as a brick and mortar, one-location storefront, I don’t expect much growth in my area. Love PETS+. Gets better all the time! — Nancy Okun, Cats n Dogs, Port Charlotte, FL
  • Staying in business! — Perina Graves, Waggin’ Tails Healthy Pet Products, Houma, LA
  • I hated every single thing about 2020. I only hope 2021 isn’t worse.—  Lorin Grow, Furry Face, Redlands, CA
  • I’d like to see the pet trade keep booming, but it needs to get caught up with itself. Shortage of products, ever increasing prices, poor distribution of goods. — Paul Lewis, Birds Unlimited, Webster, NY
  • I do not feel like 2021 is going to magically erase the woes of 2020. I hope the strong campaigns to keep shopping local stay strong in the fight to keep thriving local businesses alive. — Becci Scott, Fetching Dog, Scottsdale, AZ

GRATITUDE

  • And some expressed gratitude for the positives of the past year.
  • I learned so much in 2020, and while a lot of people had an awful year, I’m grateful for it. I bought a pre-existing business, which has had its own blessings and struggles. This year has given me newfound confidence because it’s thrown out the “playbook” so to speak. Everyone is just doing their best, and I stopped trying to make sure I was doing things “right.” I also learned more aspects of the business that I didn’t necessarily pay attention to detail previously, as it wasn’t a priority. I now know more ins and outs of what my CPA does and am more involved with our aquatics servicing department. — Paige Elder, Buzz n’ B’s Aquarium & Pet Shop, Erie, PA
  • I don’t want to jinx myself — as I have been blessed with an increase in sales this year — but man, I’d love a day or two off. — Johnna Devereaux, Fetch RI, Richmond RI

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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