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The Cat Calmer

Purr soundly tonight ... your friendly neighborhood cat calmer is at hand!

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True Identity: Danielle Wilson | Owner
Base of Operations: Bath & Biscuits, Granville, OH

When cats come face to face with Danielle Wilson in her grooming salon, they see the mark. “I have a scar across my right eyebrow where a lion cub swatted me,” she says, recalling her days working at the Columbus Zoo while studying veterinary technology.

It gives them pause. After all, Wilson has worked with much larger and much fiercer animals. That combines with a calm manner and expert handling skills to create her superpower: the ability to groom even the angriest of felines.

She starts by speaking softly, in what she calls her “kitty babble” voice. Wilson never drags cats out of their carrier.

“I get them into a state of calm where they feel confident enough to come out on their own. Once that’s accomplished, I let the cat smell me, and I start stroking the head or neck.”

After trimming nails, cleaning ears and doing a pre-shave, if needed, she adds water.
“I use a tub that can be filled so they can soak. It’s usually in the tub where a cat will freak out. Boy can they jump! I can usually see a monster leap coming — kind of like a squirrel monkey coming at you — and I snag the cat mid-flight.”

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Once bathed, Wilson wraps them up like a burrito to bring back the calm before hand drying.

“After that, I take them back to my grooming table and either shave the pattern again to neaten or gently comb out their now fluffy coat. By that time, most of my cat clients are head butting me or flopping over on their side in contentment.”

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.

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Pet Sustainability Coalition

Pet Sustainability Coalition Presents: Critical Sustainability Strategies for Retailers

This webinar, held on November 7, 2019, is the second in a series from PSC discussing how retailers can establish sustainable practices in their business. Moderated by PSC’s Andrea Czobor, the webinar unveils data behind the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, what retailers have to gain from connecting with these purpose driven consumers, and a new PSC program that makes finding these products easier for retailers.

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Best of the Best

A Store Markets Bundled Product Packages for Customers’ New Puppies

Paws on Main offers assistance — with product packages, plus referrals to its sister business.

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DOGS PROVIDE UNCONDITIONAL love and companionship. They also can present challenges that pet parents must overcome, from house-training to destructiveness to a lack of leash and other manners.

Paws on Main offers assistance — with product packages, plus referrals to its sister business, A Place for Paws dog day care and training facility.

THE IDEA

Bundle by Problem

Dani Edgerton founded A Place for Paws in 1999. In 2017, she purchased Paws on Main, a retail store just minutes away. It gave her room to stock and sell personally recommended products for common pet health and behavioral issues.

In 2019, Edgerton took her recommendations to the next level after adopting WhizBang! Retail Training’s Retail Mastery System.

“It talked about bundling to upsell,” she says.

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Edgerton created the New Puppy package, as well as Super Chewer and Training for dogs of all ages, with each one outlined on a card with a product checklist on front and training tips on back. She includes touts for A Place for Paws services on both sides.

Per WhizBang!, prices are not discounted. The card simply lists total cost per size of dog.

THE EXECUTION

Provide Focus with Flexibility

Edgerton created the package cards herself. They sit in a Peanuts-inspired holder at the register, within easy reach for staff who are asking customers how they can help.

Pet parents do not have to buy everything on a checklist, which happens regularly with the New Puppy package. “We ring everything up separately anyway,” Edgerton explains. “The card just gives them a guide as they’re walking around the store. Customers will say, ‘I need this and this, but I already have a crate.’”

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Just as pet parents appreciate the flexibility, so does she. It allows her to regularly change the packages. Edgerton may want to introduce a new toy or take away a product not selling well.

“There may be something that we as trainers know is important, but for whatever reason customers don’t want to use. We had Bitter Apple in Super Chewer, but found that they didn’t like the idea or didn’t think they needed it. In that case, it made them less interested in the package as a whole, so we took it out.”

THE RESULTS

Boost in Sales & Referrals

With the packages, Edgerton says, “The average per sale is higher — double or more because of the suggestions, all coming from experts.”

The cards also create a beneficial loop with A Place for Paws. New Puppy includes an invite to the free bi-monthly Puppy Quick Start class. Super Chewer touts its day care as a way to combat destructiveness. And Training outlines the various training programs.

Once pet parents take the free puppy class, Edgerton says, 85 percent sign up for a training program and return to Paws on Main.

“All of those clients come back to the store. It’s a given that they’ll be back.”

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Benchmarks

Pet Pros Give Their Customers the Raw Facts

From displays and signs in-store to webinars and graphics online…

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MANY CUSTOMERS ARE intimidated by the idea of moving their pet to a diet that contains raw and/or fresh foods and supplements. These six pet businesses use a variety of tools to educate pet parents and to promote these types of products.

Fur Baby Pet ResortMILFORD, DE

This display — and star of a Facebook post — encourages customers to supplement kibble with fresh foods or switch to a biologically appropriate diet. Staff rotate the raw and other products regularly, with Primal, Green Juju, Enhance and Vital Essentials making an appearance along with their brochures. Toy fruits, veggies and eggs add to the educational fun. “Most people come to us for our customer services and knowledge, but even we have those who walk in and believe they know better. (People who read headlines and marketing, but not labels.) These displays are perfect for customers like that, as it’s important for us to educate our customers as much as possible, however we can,” Sherry Shupe says. “These types of offerings create loyal customers who trust us to help make the best decisions for their pets.”

Theo Pet GroceryMONTCLAIR, NJ

Owner Gregori Lukas regularly interviews integrative and holistic veterinarians for his YouTube channel and Facebook pages. In this video with veterinarian Melissa Shelton, they talk about how her recommendation to feed a fresh food diet improved and extended the life of a senior dog she didn’t think would live more than a few more months. These interviews drive business to Theo Pet Grocery.
“Educational videos on social media allow consumers to become educated even before they step foot in your store. When they hear fresh food is healthy from a veterinarian, they are more likely to be receptive,” Lukas says. “When a customer is receptive, they are willing to shop and support your business.”

Flying M Pet Grocery HOUSTON, TX

Trace Menchaca launched club:RAW in the fall, announcing it on social media and in her newsletter, a charmingly old-fashioned publication written and drawn by hand and printed on paper. Members get personalized feeding plans, 10 percent off all raw purchases, and can attend a monthly in-store club meeting, during which they will meet other raw feeders and get free samples and sneak peeks.

Wags to Whiskers PLAINFIELD, IL

Inspired by Primal Pet Foods’ Build a Better Bowl campaign, this display illustrates how to supplement a kibble-based diet with fresh and raw foods. Each tier represents a different element of the optimized meal: a high-quality dry food, add-ins from the store such as goat milk and bone broth, and add-ins from home such as eggs and fresh fruit and veggies.“Customers like the visual and think it’s an attractive, colorful display,” Janelle Pitula says, adding that “My staff refer to it when trying to assist customers in adding fresh or high-quality ingredients to bowls. This little display has helped a lot … to have one place to go to quickly to allow people to visualize adding in product to make kibble better!”

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Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage GREENFIELD, IN

One of Samantha Youngblood’s favorite resources to share with customers is the Be Your Best Dog: A Guide to Health & Wellness booklet, written by Dr. Chris Bessent, a veterinarian and founder of Herbsmith and The Simple Food Project. “My customers are thinkers and love to research on their own before they buy. I support this and respect them. This book helps with that decision. It is a resource for supplements because of how incredible the book is written, and for nutrition because she touches on the importance of food in regards to many ailments such as allergies and bladder health. I try not to use this book to promote other products, just because it’s not fair to the company, but I guide them into a talk of food — whether that be The Simple Food Project, raw, toppers, etc. This book has been a game-changer with our sales, and I wish more companies would invest the time, effort and money to make similar handouts. Absolutely invaluable.”

Tail Blazers Copperfield & Legacy CALGARY, AB, CANADA

In addition to owning two Tail Blazers, Holly Montgomery works as a photographer. It allows her to create Insta-worthy images like this one, which she uses to educate followers about raw and fresh foods, and to attract customers to her stores. “We very often have people coming in, asking for specific products they’ve seen in our posts,” Montgomery says.
#petfoodpornwithapurpose

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Benchmarks

Haul Out the Holly — and Maybe Even Yoda — for Snappy, Happy Holiday Decor

For a snappy, happy ever after, get those decorations up now.

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IT’S THE MOST wonderful time of the year. Customers are picking out gifts, and booking extra grooming appointments and boarding stays. Best of all, you get to deck the halls to further boost the holiday cheer and spending. These pet businesses shared how they do exactly that.

Southern Barker
LEXINGTON & LOUISVILLE, KY

On any given day, Southern Barker looks pulled from the pages of a decorating magazine. The holidays are no different. Special touches like the countdown calendar pickup truck and faux snowballs add festive charm to displays, those of holiday and non-holiday products alike.

Paddywack
MILL CREEK, WA

How sweet is this giving tree? Customers are able to purchase an item off the tree for a specific forever foster or adoptable pet, with the lineup changing each year with the organization. White tinsel and snowflakes also decorate this store, with Christmas and Hanukkah items adding pops of color throughout.

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The Dog Store
ALEXANDRIA, VA

Forget the Grinch! The Dog Store favors another green creature, Yoda, in one of its holiday displays. Making an appearance in the front window are Santa Snoopy and seemingly every single holiday dog toy on the market. Passersby can’t help but stop to take it all in, and then head inside for more.

Wagging Tails
WEST HARTFORD & WOLCOTT, CT

Pet-centric holiday paintings are a running theme in the lobbies of these boarding facilities. Santa holds a puppy, giving him a candy cane to lick. A kitten plays with ribbon on a wrapped gift. And a Westie looks out a snow-dusted window, with a Christmas tree in the background. All creating a merry mood for clients dropping off their pets.

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Bark On Mulford
ROCKFORD, IL

Festive items mix with year-round gifts to give both categories a boost during the holidays. Dog breed ornaments decorate Bark on Mulford’s Christmas tree, along with those representing other pets.

Paws on Main
COLUMBIANA, OH

This store took full advantage of last year’s town Christmas parade theme: ugly sweaters. It devoted the front window to holiday sweaters for pets, and threw a Snuggly Paws and Ugly Sweater Party. Not only did Paws on Main sell a slew of sweaters, it won the Best Dressed Animals Award at the parade!

Woof! Woof! Pet Boutique & Biscuit Bar
BRISTOL, RI

Treats remain a priority during the holidays at this store, with the famous biscuit bar and bakery cases getting a festive makeover. And look at the bone-shaped tree lights and garland with moose ears. Adorable.

Captivating Canines
WESTERVILLE, OH

This store takes part in its neighborhood’s annual storefront holiday decorating contest. White twinkle lights hang from the awning, helping to light the window displays that feature festive holiday decor. Good luck this year!

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