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Editor's Note

We Welcome 9 New Businesses to the PETS+ America’s Coolest Ranks

No matter how long you have been in the industry or what level you have reached, we know you will learn from these innovative leaders.




WE HELD OUR FIRST America’s Coolest contest in 2017, the year PETS+ began publishing. Since then, editorial and industry judges have welcomed 80 businesses — including this year’s nine winners — into what has become known as an exemplary group of independent pet retailers and service providers.

Per usual, each 2023 winner will be profiled on our pages during the contest year, which starts with this issue and runs through May-Jun 2024. Owners of the businesses will share how they have achieved success in their own unique and indie ways. No matter how long you have been in the industry or what level you have reached, we know you will learn from these innovative leaders.

One last note on America’s Coolest before we move on to the rest of this issue: If you entered in 2023 or in a previous year and did not win, we welcome and encourage you to enter again. And we will reach out in 2024 with suggestions on how to improve your entry. We know how incredibly cool your business is, as many of you are members of the PETS+ Brain Squad, but the industry judges often get to know your business through your entry. Let’s make it impossible for them to not give it a high score.


Elsewhere in this issue, you will find our equally cool regular features and columns, plus an expanded Products+ section just in time for SuperZoo — page after page of category roundups and New & Notable products, plus a Coolest Holiday Products advertising section.

Speaking of SuperZoo, we’ll be posting videos and photos to our social media and throughout the show. Follow us at and get a daily roundup via And if you’re attending SuperZoo, please swing by our booth (#3760) to say hi.

Five Great Tips From This Issue That You Can Do Today

  1. Ask your brand partners for social media ad support during RAWgust. (Calendar, p. 10)
  2. Add a product or service call-to-action link to your email signature. (Manager’s To-Do List, p. 12)
  3. Check out Google’s Local Services Ads. (Matt Alrich, p. 93)
  4. Learn the difference between merchandising and display. (Lyn M. Falk, p. 95)
  5. Create a “Chews Size Matters” sign. (Real Deal, p. 96)



P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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