BY LIZETT BOND
Imagine Thomas and Winifred Watts’ delight had they peered into a crystal ball in 1946 and
caught a glimpse of their endeavor, Anaheim Feed and Seed, celebrating a 2016 platinum anniversary. That gratification might
have multiplied tenfold upon
observing a third generation of
Wattses at the reins.
The story of what is now Anaheim Feed and Pet Supply, Pet
Product News’ Retailer of the
Year 2015-2016 for Outstanding
Long-Term Success, mirrors the
evolution of its hometown, the
city of Anaheim, Calif. Originally catering to the local farming
community, the establishment
has followed the region’s shifting demographics.
“This whole area was once
orange groves; it was farmland,”
said John Watts, grandson of
Thomas and Winifred, who man-
ages the store’s day-to-day opera-
tions along with his brother, Har-
rison. “My grandpa wanted to
own something of his own, saved
every penny he earned and, when
this business came up for sale in
1946, he bought it.”
Originally located in down-
town Anaheim, the Watts’ early
venture stocked farm supplies and
bulk livestock feed, including hay.
Urbanization generated tremen-
dous change and over time, homes
and businesses replaced rural
farmland. In the 1970s, the historic
downtown area was demolished in
a wave of redevelopment. At that
time, son and present owner, Kent
Watts, at the helm of the family
venture, moved the business to the
current 12,000-square-foot location
a few miles away.
“As demands changed, our fo-
cus became dogs and cats,” Har-
Throughout the years, provid-
ing exceptional customer service
along with a deep respect for staff
members have been elemental
components to the philosophy of
this concern. Further, the ability
of the close-knit Watts family to
quickly confer and make adjust-
ments has allowed the business
“We are able to change up
the products or help customers
with special orders; it’s easy to
make the extra effort,” said Chelsea Cassidy, assistant manager.
“That’s what differentiates Anaheim Feed and Pet Supply from a
THIS IS NOW
Fulfilling the needs of a diverse,
pet loving populous is central at
Anaheim Feed and Pet Supply.
For this reason, dog and cat food
selections include all-natural and
holistic canned, kibble, frozen
raw, freeze dried and dehydrated varieties.
“Our focus is on independent
dog and cat food brands, but we
have an eclectic customer base, so
while we put more energy into the
healthier, super premium brands,
we also remember our customers
who can’t afford to spend that
kind of money,” John said. “In
this regard, we carry some of the
“We try to keep a balance in
order to serve the whole commu-
nity,” agreed Harrison.
For this reason, senior shoppers and owners of seeing-eye
dogs receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases.
Beyond foods, a broad selection of supplies for dogs and
cats round out the product mix,
including collars, leashes, beds,
bowls, litter, grooming items and
For diminutive furry family
members, foods and supplies, including cages, await small mam-mal-owning customers. Domestic
and wild birdseed and supplies,
koi and tortoise food, and crickets
and mealworms also are available.
Poultry provisions include feed,
hutches, feeders and waterers.
“We still sell bulk chicken
feed, including non-GMO and
organic feeds, and we have a fairly large customer base for these
products,” John said.
The store’s overall ambience has evolved with the times
as well. Originally featuring a
small, open showroom fronting a
warehouse stocked with hay and
feeds, the retail space has since
expanded into the entire building. In an effort to create a more
big boxlike racks have been replaced with gondola systems.
Wider aisles, brighter lighting
and polished concrete floors add
to the welcoming atmosphere.
“When John and I came into
the business, we wanted to put
our stamp on it; it’s a great busi-
ness, but we felt it could always
be better,” Harrison said. “We
constantly are upgrading the
way we do signage or moving
and changing our aisle layouts.”
As demand for reptile and fish
supplies dwindled, the one-time
herp and aquatics department,
located near the registers, was re-
vamped into a manager’s station.
“The new layout allows our
managers to be near the registers,
facilitating transactions and keeping an eye on the flow of traffic,”
PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
At this family-owned business,
employees are held in high esteem and considered extended
“I think the key to our longevity is how we treat our employees; they make the business
go and we recognize that,” John
said. “For instance, we always
have provided health insurance.”
As a result, several staff members have been with the company
for 20 years or longer.
Enthusiasm and a desire to
work are sought-after attributes
in a new hire, and many staff
members are area young people.
“We have been a first job for
many, many people in the com-
munity,” Harrison said. “I think
we look at ourselves as a building
block for a lot of these folks going
into the future.”
New hires undergo extensive
training, including the use of
Pet Store Pro, before heading to
the sales floor to shadow more-
experienced associates. The en-
tire staff takes part in ongoing
education, including seminars
and vendor presentations.
One-on-one customer interac-
tion is emphasized.
“We want our employees to
have a personal connection with
our customers,” John said.
Manufacturers also play an
important role in customer education, and “demo days” take
place on a regular basis.
“We might have 800 custom-
ers walking through the store on
a Saturday, for instance,” Harri-
son said. “It can be difficult for
our employees to talk to every
single person, so having demo
people there can provide an inter-
action with a customer that might
be missed otherwise.”
Customer contact is further
accomplished via a monthly
newsletter, according to Cassidy.
Each issue follows a theme and
includes tips, helpful articles, fea-
tured products and news of store
events and sales.
“For instance, for National
Spay and Neuter Month we discussed controlling the feral cat
population,” she said.
Aside from the newsletter,
A Family Evolution
Adaptation, transformation and family values
lead to 70 years of business success.