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PETS+ Readers Share When They Will Be Comfortable Attending In-Person Trade Shows

Some have been ready, while others are looking at 2022.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Global Pet Expo Digital Access happens Mar. 24-26, and the PETS+ team will be there. We asked in our February Brain Squad survey when you’d be comfortable attending trade shows in person again. Here are a few responses, with more at petsplusmag.com/inbox.

  • We were ready a while ago. We were very sad about Global being cancelled in person. We are attending the Gift Show in Las Vegas in April and already booked SuperZoo. Looking forward to getting back to normal life and seeing friends. — Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee, WA
  • I won’t feel comfortable until the majority of the population has been vaccinated. That means I will likely not attend a trade show in person until some time in 2022. — Amy Schiek, Lucky Dogs, Skaneateles, NY
  • I’m vaccinated and comfortable now, participating as a vaccinator at a community clinic, so out of the store more. Whatever trade show happens in person first, I will likely attend. — Nicole Cammack, NorthPoint Pets, Cheshire, CT
  • Waiting for Global 2022. Probably won’t feel comfortable going until we can walk around without masks. — Gina Swansburg, Gone to the Dogs, Wakefield, MA
  • I hope PFXNE happens in August. — Sandy House, Paws N Effect, Hamden, CT
  • We can’t risk COVID, which would shut us down. No trade shows until we are vaccinated and the pandemic is under control. — Bob Bianchi, Blue Ribbon Koi & Marine, Catharpin, VA
  • Any time! I want to get out of here! — Charlsye Lewis, Metro Animals, Fort Worth, TX
  • Hopefully SuperZoo. The industry has done a really good job of adjusting to necessary changes because of the pandemic. Technology has improved/emerged to support the little guys. Social media has helped keep support systems in place so we’re not feeling as isolated. Thanks for all you do! — Stephanie Rossino, GiggyBites Bakery for Dogs, Chadds Ford, PA
  • I would feel comfortable attending a show where masks were mandatory and all vendors/attendees were required to self-attest that they were following state quarantine rules. If such a trade show were held the Northeast, where most states have pretty aggressive quarantine requirements, I’d feel comfortable But, I feel like that’s a pipe dream and realistically we won’t be attending in-person trade shows until the vaccination is widely available to all demographics. — Katherine Ostiguy, Crossbones, Providence, RI
  • I’ll be back to the trade shows as soon as we have flattened the curve and I have personally had the vaccine. Also waiting for “herd immunity” to set in. I’m in no hurry to get back to the shows — I liked the virtual shows because I got what I wanted and spent a lot less — little to no impulse purchases. — Sue Hepner, Cool Dog Gear, Warrington, PA
  • I’m signed up for SuperZoo, but I’m nervous about being on a plane and in close proximity to people without the pandemic getting under greater control. I’ve had Covid two times: July 2020 and January 2021. I didn’t think I was going to survive this last time! I’ve never been sicker in my 54 years, and I ended up in the ER with COVID pneumonia. It’s been five weeks, and I’m still struggling trying to keep my lungs clear. So, ultimately my decision to attend will be made much closer to the actual date. — Janet Cesarini, Pupology, Georgetown, TX
  • I’m ready. Let’s do it! — Sheila Spitza, Wet Nose, Geneva, IL
  • I’m ready for real trade shows! Went to a couple of digital and didn’t understand the point of it if you weren’t taking classes. — Corey Heenan, Corey’s Canine Creations, Altamont, NY
  • Not yet. Possibly Global in 2022. Just reflecting on the past year, as we’re coming up on the anniversary of our temporary COVID closing (3/18/20-6/1/20). What a year! — Kaye Busse-Kleber, Bark On Mulford, Rockford, IL
  • Bought my airline ticket to Vegas before SuperZoo 2021 registration even opened! — Marcia Cram, Just Fur Pets, Springfield, VA
  • SuperZoo in Vegas this year. — Marvin Schaffer, J & M Aquatics & Pet Center, Grand Junction, CO
  • I would go now. — Sal Salafia, Exotic Pet Birds Inc, Webster, NY
  • Unfortunately, I have never been able to attend a trade show before. I would probably be comfortable participating in a year or so. — Anna Fortini, Croton Pet Station, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
  • Never felt uncomfortable. Have show, will travel! — Frank Frattini, The Hungry Puppy, Farmingdale, NJ
  • I think 2022 is safe to say I will be more comfortable attending trade shows. — Tammi Bui, Wishbone Pet Care, Missouri City, TX
  • Fall 2021. — Jennifer Flanagan, Nature’s Pet Market Sherwood, Sherwood, OR
  • I’m ready for trade shows! Hoping to go to SuperZoo in August. I’ve already booked my room! The industry is booming. COVID has made industries thrive or dive, and I’m thankful the pet retail industry in my area is thriving! I’m a little apprehensive when it may all come to a halt, but we’re going to enjoy it while it lasts! — Nicole Olesen, Woofs & Waves, Sioux Falls, SD
  • The first trade show we may go to post-pandemic is SuperZoo. At this point, we’re going but that could change depending on where we are with the pandemic. — Jeff Jensen, Four Muddy Paws, St. Louis, MO
  • Now, as long as others followed guidelines. Super Zoo. — Nancy Okun, Cats n Dogs, Port Charlotte, FL
  • The next show I will expect to attend will be SuperZoo 2022. I am not going to a show unless I am fully vaccinated, possibly not until my kids are vaccinated (especially as we don’t yet know enough about vaccinated people carrying COVID, and I expect many people will still not be vaccinated by then), and until the case rates are super low. I simply don’t see that being this year. If we feel comfortable to travel, it’s going to be to see family, or to a place that’s not crowded with people! — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA
  • I’m ready. — Toni Shelaske, Healthy Pet Products, Pittsburgh, PA
  • I’m itching to go since we have a new location opening soon and we finally have space to add some different lines. I plan to go as soon as I can get away, and there is one to go to! SuperZoo would be my first choice. — Karen Conell, The Bark Market, Delavan, WI
  • Trade shows or events will not be happening until herd immunity is achieved through vaccination. — Jennifer Moore Baker, Grateful Dog Bakery, North Ridgeville, OH
  • I have never attended one. In the beginning, I was struggling just to pay the rent, then once I got righted, I really never felt the need to go. Was actually planning to go to one this year, but will wait until next year to see how things play out. — Diana Farrar, Fifi & Fidos Pet Boutique, San Antonio, TX
  • ASAP. SuperZoo. — Lorin Grow, Furry Face, Redlands, CA
  • I won’t be attending in-person trade shows until I don’t feel the need to check the daily tally for new COVID-19 cases. Global is right down the road, so that would probably be the first. — Liz Harris, Creatures Featured, Madison, FL
  • I don’t feel comfortable yet. I really want to go to SuperZoo, but will wait until next year. I see a lot of brave people signing up. I hope they will stay safe and healthy. — Comora Tolliver, Barkers Anonymous, Hendersonville, NC
  • As soon as I am vaccinated and travel is OK. Super Zoo is the only one we go to. — Laurie Wilson, Teca Tu-A Pawsworthy Pet Emporium, Santa Fe, NM
  • I think by this summer I would be willing to go to a trade show. — Shelly Nicastro, Essex Bird & Pet Supply, Essex, MA
  • I miss the trade shows. May consider going to SuperZoo. Depends on if COVID is more under control. — Alexis Butler, The Dog’s Meow, Salt Lake City, UT
  • I hope SuperZoo this year!!!! — Anna Woodcock, Brown Dog Bakery, Ankeny, IA
  • I look forward to attending SuperZoo — once I’ve been vaccinated along with the rest (majority) of the country. — Lisa Boegl, Eldorado Country Pet, Santa Fe, NM
  • I will look forward to small open houses and eventually SuperZoo. — Becci Scott, Fetching Dog, Scottsdale, AZ
  • I would feel comfortable attending a trade show where masks were mandatory and all vendors/attendees were required to self-attest they were following state quarantine rules. If such a trade show were held up here in the Northeast, where most states have pretty aggressive quarantine requirements, I’d feel comfortable with that. But, I feel like that’s a pipe dream right now, and realistically we won’t be attending in-person trade shows until the vaccination is widely available to all demographics. — Katherine Ostiguy, Crossbones, Providence, RI
  • I can’t wait for shows to start up again. I am not an advocate for wearing a mask, so that may be the only reason I do not attend. Global is my favorite show followed by SuperZoo. Too many freeloaders at SuperZoo, and I do not like the venue personally. — Michelle Nelson, The Pet Authority, Albert Lea, MN
  • Yes! Las Vegas this summer if it is on. Hershey, PA, in November. — Krista Lofquist, Wagging Tails, Wolcott, CT
  • Maybe 2022, and it would be Global because we can drive there and not have to fly. — Michelle McConnell, A Natural Pet Pantry, Osprey, FL
  • Maybe 2022 if COVID is at a safe level. — Rhonda Olson, Rhonda’s Aviary, Milton, FL
  • As soon as I can get my vaccine!!! 🙂 I’m very excited to get one, and I understand the delays and others need it more than we do, but I’m very much looking forward to having some small normalcy return (and am incredibly grateful I have a job to go to every day, as I would’ve gone insane 11 months ago otherwise!). — Matthew O’Leary, Felix & Oscar, Springfield, VA
  • Since it’s only me here, I’m looking forward to the virtual shows! — Ron Keller, Captivating Canines, Westerville, OH
  • I usually only attend BCI’s spring and fall shows. I love my rep so I have a more personalized experience. They’re also a reasonable driving distance so I don’t feel like I’m missing a ton of work as I’m usually very present at the store. — Paige Elder, Buzz n’ B’s Aquarium & Pet Shop, Erie, PA
  • I might be the unpopular opinion here, but I personally think with masks, social distancing and other strict protocols in place, I would personally feel fine attending a trade show. Going back to my first trade show post-COVID would depend on which one/s is/are available to attend in person. — Natalie Bosch, Albany Pet Hotel, Albany, OR
  • We are hoping PETS+ can have their show this year. We learned so much and had fun meeting other indies at the show. Jodi Etienne, Razzle Dazzle Doggie Bow-tique, Bradley, IL
  • I would go to Global if they were having it in person. Infection rates aren’t much different when people are masking or not. Fortunately in Florida, our Governor does recognize that in order for our state to survive, we have to be open for business. — April Meier, Pawsitively Scrumptious, Crestview, FL
  • I am still a wait-and-see for shows. Have to see numbers to think about SuperZoo, and a lot could change between now and then. — Beth Staley, Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL
  • When most of the population is vaccinated and there are no more COVID deaths. — Terri Ellen, Salem Bed & Biscuit, Salem, OR
  • Once my whole family is vaccinated, I’m ready to face the world again. — Brett Foreman, euPAWria Holistic Pet Center, Owego, NY
  • I would feel comfortable attending any trade show at this point. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • When the majority of the country has the vaccine. SuperZoo. — Steven Iannuzzi, Percy Paws, North Conway, NH
  • Depends on the COVID numbers and strict policies in place for said event(s). We are still seeing short weekends away vs. longer vacations, which means more behind-the-scenes work for scheduling with less return. — Amber Van Denzen Suarez, Atta Boy! Animal Care Pet Sitting + Dog Walking, Mulberry, FL
  • Not sure. Watching and waiting. — Cheryl McKee, Dog Stuff, Virginia Beach, VA
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed virtual trade shows, and I’d like to continue those in the future. We always attend our biggest distributor show. We have a great relationship with them and it incentivizes us to do more business with them. — Caroline Gunther, Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique, Hendersonville, NC
  • I’m ready!!!! SuperZoo bound! Leslie Stewart, Southern Barker, Lexington, KY
  • Never felt uncomfortable about attending trade shows. Maybe Pet Pro Classic in Dallas this year. We will see if it happens. It’s the closest to me. — Karen Silva, Canine Fashions Pet Salon, Amarillo, Texas
  • I’m ready now! — Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy, Fredericksburg, VA
  • We’re planning on going to Superzoo. We will both be vaccinated in another month. We have made good friends in the pet industry and being able to touch base with them during this time has made things easier, or at least endurable, during COVID. I like Pets+ more than any other publication in the pet industry. The interactiveness of it is awesome. And it has been super helpful during the pandemic. — Rachael Creech, Adventure Pets and Adventure Pets Covington Mandeville and Covington, LA
  • I think I will feel comfortable once I have completed the vaccination process (including the waiting time after the second vaccine). Hoping for Superzoo to be our first show back. — Jennifer Guevin, Holistic for Pets, Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
  • If they have it, we will go to Superzoo! — Trace Menchaca, Flying M Pet Grocery, Houston, TX
  • I won’t attend a trade show until 2022, most likely. — Jennifer Thomas, Lucky Dog Pet Grocery & Bakery, Lawrence, KS
  • I’m registered for SuperZoo, and I would have gone to Global. I also plan to go to either Atlanta or New York Gift Markets. I’m speaking in two seminars by Zoom and participating in two panels at Global, hopefully will be asked to participate in SuperZoo. I will be offering pre-paid personal shopping services for those who cannot attend these shows. — Pattie Zeller, Animal Connnection, Charlottesville, VA

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.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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