BY SANDY CHEBAT
Rise in demand for made in the USA products stems from people’s desire to provide the
best for their families—and furry
“The demand for American-made products has skyrocketed in recent years, and right now,
more people are willing to pay
more for made in the USA products,” said Adam Baker, founder
and CEO of Boulder, Colo-based
True Dogs LLC, maker of SodaPup brand toys.
“Many retail partners are devoting complete sections to products that are made in the USA,”
said Tim Fabits, vice president of
sales for Redbarn Pet Products in
Long Beach, Calif. “This gives the
pet parent multiple options and
continues to pique interest in new
items that are introduced within
those segments of the business.”
HOME TEAM ADVANTAGES
Safety represents the primary reason for the increasing number of
customers and retailers demanding U.S.-made pet products.
Spencer Williams, founder of
West Paw Design in Bozeman,
Mont., reported noticing more pet
product companies manufacturing or making their products in
the U.S. for safety reasons.
“This especially is true when
it comes to pet food; there are
far-stricter regulations in the U.S.
as far as ingredients and manufacturing practices,” Williams said.
“Consumers are becoming more
educated on safety benefits of
American-made products and are
demanding safer toys and food.”
Many pet owners are unaware that pet food ingredients
and labels are regulated by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture,
said David DeLorenzo, president
of Vetscience LLC, which manufactures the Fruitables Pet Food
brand in Dallas.
“Retailers should educate
more on this point, because when
consumers understand this, it
adds to their purchasing confidence,” he said.
Retailers should not hesitate
to call a manufacturer to learn
everything they need to know
about sourcing and processing so
they can become a knowledgeable
agent of information for customers, DeLorenzo said.
Baker cited ever-growing
“Products made in China raise
big questions about health and
safety standards and quality assurance in addition to labor concerns,” he said.
Sources said the Great Recession also propelled consumers to
both buy American and seek out
companies that do not outsource
their products and services.
Even on a micro scale, custom-
ers like seeing products made in
their own states and towns, said
Heather Hedemann, owner of
Petapoluza Pet Supply & Groom-
ing in Seattle.
“There has been a return of
small business; people enjoy
knowing and supporting the faces
behind it,” Hedemann added.
For today’s savvy pet owners seeking U.S.-made products,
where they are sourced and manufactured is extremely important.
“It’s vitally important for most
NEAR AND DEAR
of my customers that edibles are
sourced in the U.S. or Canada,”
said Aidan Gannon, owner of
Petzlove in Lone Tree, Colo. “The
most common question for edibles
is, ‘Are these American made?’
“You can see they’re excited
about all the American prod-
ucts,” he added. “It gives them a
warm feeling that not everything
is from China.”
Highlighting locally made
items also can be a big hit with
“We make sure to highlight
all treats, or novelties—like the
lady down the street who makes
bowties for cats—with ‘made in
Washington’ signs and stories of
said product any time anyone inquires or is searching for a similar
product,” Hedemann said.
Gannon recommended grouping local and U.S.-made products
together so they’re easy for customers to find.
“It promotes how strongly
we carry American and Colora-
do products, and highlights how
we’re a specialty store focusing on
these products,” he said. “Weekly,
we get multiple thank yous for fo-
cusing on these products.”
The biggest mistake retail-
ers make in this category is
single-item purchases, said Lan-
ette Fidrych, president of Cycle
Dog-Earth Friendly Pet Co. in
“The best sell-through happens
when retailers invest in enough
product and shelf space to tell the
full brand story,” she said.
Gannon emphasized knowing
about the companies you work
with to connect the customer with
the story behind the product.
“People want connection these
days to where they’re shopping
and what they’re buying,” he said.
“When you have a good story be-
hind the product, it sells better and
Williams of West Paw Design
recommended creating an endcap
of only U.S.-made products as a
way to differentiate them.
“Calling out that you support
American manufacturing is a great
way to express your own values to
your customers,” Williams said.
“It’s also a great talking point for
“It’s positioning the product
and making sure that these SKUs
are merchandised and proper, ro-
bust signage is in place,” Redbarn
Pet Products’ Fabits said. “This
allows the retailer to capitalize
on the incremental growth of the
made in the USA segment.”
Many manufacturers provide
displays, merchandising and
training materials, in-store signage
and more to help educate their re-
tail partners and increase sales for
Both Baker and Williams said
they supply wooden displays to
retailers, and Susan Goldstein,
founder of Earth Animal Ventures LLC in Westport, Conn.,
recommended using wooden tables, baskets and patriotic colors.
Because his customers are looking
for natural products that are made
in the USA, Gannon finds they are
drawn to more rustic or wooden
“Because so much of marketing is now digital, we have a Visual Merchandising board on our
Pinterest page that continually
is updated with clever tips and
tricks,” Williams said.
“Social media is the perfect
place to promote the American-made and -grown story,”
DeLorenzo said. “Retailers also
are finding that using endcaps
or carving out a USA story display within a treat or food aisle
Keeps on Trending
With customer demand for U.S.-made products still on an upward
trajectory, pet product suppliers sell the story with their stock.
USA ALL THE
WAY FOR MANY
Almost eight out of 10 Americans
prefer to purchase an American-made product over an imported
one, and more than 60 percent of
respondents said they would pay
10 percent more for that USA-made
item, according to Consumer
Reports’ 2015 article “Special Report:
Made in America.”