For Pet and Planet
BEHIND THE SCENES
BY SANDY CHEBAT
Larry Wright, president and CEO of The Green Pet Shop in Deerfield, Ill., used to be a
“I did pretty well, but I came
home and was void of rewards
other than financial,” he said. “Af-
ter that, I promised that anything
else I got into would be rewarding
in other ways in addition to finan-
cial. I wanted to make sure it did
something good for somebody
and for the planet.”
When he became an investor,
people came to Wright with ideas
and for investments in those ideas.
During that time, he invested in a
variety of industries, including au-
tomotive and cash for gold.
In 2009, a man approached
Wright with the idea to start a
Pet Product News: Please share the compa-
Larry Wright: This gentleman had a
prototype of the [Cool Pet Pad],
and I sat on it while he talked to
me about it. I funded the company, The Green Pet Shop, in 2010
and kept treasury and overall
control, and I installed the gentleman with the idea as the day-to-day operator.
Less than two years later, we
parted ways. I love pets and the
pet industry, and I saw potential,
so I took over as CEO in 2012, and
my son, Brian, and I buried ourselves in the business and have
done very well with it.
For The Green Pet Shop, success goes beyond financial profit.
While running the day-to-day
operations, I discovered shortcuts
and things not up to my standards, so I researched production
facilities, brought new products
in, changed packaging and went
to each of our customers and
thanked, talked to and assured
them that things would be done
Sales that first year increased
by 100 percent, followed by a
125 percent [increase] in 2014
and 20 to 25 percent last year.
We’ve branded ourselves as a
premier company and continue
to bring on more high-quality,
eco-friendly products that fit our
mission, goals and niche within
PPN: Why an eco-friendly company?
LW: First, as a way to give back.
Second, based on environmental
concerns, I know that eco-friendly is a trend that will stay with
us. I didn’t see many companies that were all or exclusively
eco-friendly at some level, so
if we could create that niche, it
would be powerful and set us
apart. We won’t manufacture a
product unless we can classify it
as green or natural.
Our mission is to bring the
most unique, eco-friendly and
cost-effective products in the industry today at prices that compete with non-eco-friendly products and that improve the lives of
our pets as well as help sustain
PPN: Talk about the company’s products.
LW: Our signature product is the
Cool Pet Pad, and we were the
first to bring it to the U.S. for use
with humans or pets. In April
2010, we applied for a patent on
the technology, and it was granted
in May 2014.
This product is the only of its
type that cools on contact without
electricity or water. The pet lies
down on it, and it absorbs heat
from the pet’s body through a
chemical reaction from the pressure of the dog lying on the mat.
The cooling lasts two to three
hours, and the product recharges
itself in 15 to 20 minutes.
Our newest product, CBD Gel
Pen, is a cannabinoid made with
pure hemp. The CBD contained
within the product offers the same
benefits as medical marijuana and
is becoming prevalent in the pet
and human industry. Testimonials from customers have told us
that the product has calmed their
dogs’ anxiety and helped with
pain, swelling and arthritis.
Two things significantly set
our CBD product apart. 1. Safe-
ty: Most of the CBD that comes
into this country is imported, and
government reports have warned
consumers about imported CBD
because of toxins, heavy metals
and pesticides. We found an or-
ganic family farm in Colorado
that creates pure CBD from pure
hemp plants, so we know it’s the
purest form of CBD found, with-
out any chemicals, toxins, heavy
metals or pesticides,
and we can document
it. 2. Application: We
use a transdermal gel
pen that emits a measured dos-
age of the gel. With transdermal
application, the pet absorbs about
100 percent of what’s rubbed into
their exposed veinous skin. The
other CBD products on the market today are edibles, so through
the digestive process you don’t
know how much CBD actually
will be absorbed into the system.
We also have a warming product, and it’s the only one we don’t
manufacture ourselves. The Achy
Paws Pet Mat uses bamboo charcoal technology that activates with
the pet’s body temperature to increase circulation, which leads to
warmth and better health.
PPN: What challenges has The Green Pet
LW: Finding partners who subscribe to the same philosophy and
people who would be good members of our team. The toughest experience was when I discovered
corners were being cut. We lost
goodwill from good customers
because the company had not
been run the way [it] would have
if I [had] been running it from the
beginning. I changed things to
make sure absolutely everything
is done the right way, and, no matter what, customers are taken care
of above all else.
PPN: What changes have you seen in the
eco-friendly pet products category?
LW: The category is growing, and
it continued to grow at about the
same pace during the Great Recession. Environmental concerns
are not going away. As a society
and a planet, we must be aware
of the environment.
One challenge is educating con-
sumers that eco-friendly products
don’t cost significantly more than
others; we are able to make them
at about the same cost now. Con-
sumers might spend marginally
more on eco-friendly products,
but they are coming to understand
that it’s important to take care of
the world we live in and will leave
to our kids, and they don’t have to
break themselves to do it.
We’re seeing more creativity
with companies designing more
products that conventionally
had been non-eco-friendly and
finding ways to manufacture
and create them in ways that are
PPN: Does The Green Pet Shop give back?
LW: We do fundraising events and
donate a ton of pads when contacted. Different groups contact
us weekly, and we seldom turn
down qualified requests from pet
and other charities. Earlier this
year, my son went around and
donated more than 10,000 pads to
shelters around Chicago.
We’re also putting together a
way to donate a portion of the proceeds of our business each year.
PPN: What’s in store for the future?
LW: We have a very lofty goal: To
continue to try to bring the very
best products that we can to market, educate the consumer, give
back and make this company the
very best there is in the industry.
We believe that with the direction we’re going, the mission we
have, the niche we’re filling and
the trend that’s happening with
the eco/green industry, by continually bringing on likeminded
partners, we will be able to reach
that goal without any limitations
at all. n
Clockwise from top left: The
Green Pet Shop’s signature
Cool Pet Pad, Larry and Brian
Wright, the company’s new
CBD Gel Pen and a satisfied