Pets Best Insurance Services LLC of Boise,
Idaho, a U.S. pet health insurance agency,
appointed JARED HIGHT to general counsel
from vice president of claims. Hight attended the University of Idaho College of Law
while working full time for Pets Best. After
graduating in December and being admitted
to the Idaho State Bar this spring, Hight
was immediately promoted to overseeing
the company’s legal function. Hight has
been with Pets Best since the company’s
inception in 2005. Hight originally was hired
to create and staff the company’s underwriting department, but his role was quickly
expanded to oversee the claims department
and eventually corporate compliance.
Nacogdoches, Texas-based Precise Pet
Products, manufacturer and supplier
of all-natural canine and feline foods,
welcomed DEBBIE HAMMOND to its sales
management team. Hammond will serve
as the new sales manager for Precise in
Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. In her new
position, Hammond will manage sales of
Precise Pet Products in the independent
retail channel and within the regional chain
accounts of her sales territory. She also
will work with distributor personnel in the
three states to cultivate customer relationships and promote brand awareness.
Aquascape Inc., a St. Charles, Ill.-based
water features company, expanded its
SCOTT RHODES will move into a new
role as vice president of marketing, having
served as director of product marketing
for Aquascape since 2008. With 17 years’
experience in brand management, strategic
planning, digital marketing and integrated
marcom initiatives, AVELINE HAUSER joins
Aquascape as director of marketing. JULIE
CANNING joins Aquascape as its marketing
project manager. Canning is responsible
for managing multiple marketing projects
for the company, from catalog production
to video publication. Previously serving as
a customer care team lead for Aquascape,
MATT AUGUSTINE moves into a new role
as product copywriter.
McLean, Va.-based Mars
Inc. announced that
FORREST E. MARS JR.
passed away at the age of
84 on July 26.
Mars first joined Mars Inc. as a
financial staff officer for M&M’s Candies in
1959. In 1961, Mars was appointed general
manager of a Veghel, Netherlands, confectionery factory, which he managed until
A Rare Find
This pair of San Diego stores specializes in exotic,
hard-to-find freshwater fish, drawing in hobbyists
from all over the Southwestern U.S.
Roger Ma, co-owner of Pet Zone
Tropical Fish, which has two stores in
Type of business: brick-and-mortar
and online retailer
Years in business: 9
Special services: ships live fish
anywhere in the U.S., including Hawaii, Alaska and
Puerto Rico; ships all other
Pet Product News: What are the
top-selling products in your store
Roger Ma: The silver arowana
is the top seller. We specialize
in many monster fish such as
the arowana, and people from
all over the Southwestern U.S.
region drive to our stores to
purchase them or order online
from all around the country.
Betta fish are another top seller
both in-store and online. The
halfmoon bettas in particular
have become very popular as
people love their 180-degree
tail span. The Aqueon Mini
Bow 1 is the other top seller
in-store. Many families come
in with their kids and find this
1-gallon aquarium starter kit
to be the perfect size tank as
it doesn’t take up too much
space and is a door opener to
PPN: What are your favorite products
RM: I love keeping rare plecos.
Our favorite plecos in our store
are the titanic pleco (L-273) and
the queen arabesque (L-260).
They are hard to find and are
a bit finicky with their water
parameters, but once you get
the tank up and running with
the proper environment, it is
great just watching them graze
around driftwood and coming
out during feeding time. Their
beauty continues to captivate
my attention regardless of how
often I see them.
PPN: What trends have you been
keeping your eye on most closely?
RM: Many previous saltwater
fishkeepers are now converting back to freshwater. Many
of our own customers have
done the same. Saltwater has
its benefits, along with very
beautiful and vibrant fish, but
more people are realizing that
they can get the same beauty
within freshwater aquariums
minus the tedious and costly
More and more families
are also starting their very
first fish tanks; they see fish-keeping as a less-demanding
alternative to raising a dog,
cat, bird, etc.
PPN: What business challenge are you
currently in the process of tackling?
RM: As a new local fish store
in the neighborhood—we
just opened a store in Kearny
Mesa, San Diego—the most
difficult challenge is getting
new customers into our store.
There are a handful of big-box
stores such as Petco, PetSmart
and a couple other indepen-
dent stores nearby, and we are
figuring out ways to attract
the people who shop at our
competitors’ into our store.
People are still discovering
us; many are very happy we are
in this neighborhood, as there
aren’t too many area fish stores
that specialize in freshwater.
PPN: What business goal are you
hoping to achieve this year?
RM: We want to become the
place people first think of
when it comes to freshwater
fish. As a local fish store that
specializes in rare and exotic
freshwater fish, we have built
our first store as the place
where people in Southern
California go to find rare pleco
specimens and higher-end fish
such as discus, African tigerfish, black arowanas, etc.
Our new location has only
been open for a few months,
and we are working slowly
on becoming the go-to store
in this area. Social media has
been working out very well for
us, and our loyal following on
both Facebook and Instagram
has allowed us to continue
bringing people into our store
and website. This will definitely help us achieve this goal.
Roger Ma (left) co-owns Pet Zone Tropical Fish with his parents,
Jenney and Paul Ma.
1966, when he became managing director
of Mars France.
Mars moved to McLean, Va., in 1970 to
assume responsibility for the company’s
confectionery operations as group vice
president. In McLean, Mars worked alongside his brother, John, also a group vice
president, who managed the company’s
pet food, vending and money systems
operations. Eventually, the two brothers
took joint responsibility for all company
functions, and, in 1975, they became
co-presidents of Mars Inc.
Following his retirement in 1999, Mars
served as a member of the board of directors until 2006, and he remained active in
the Mars Foundation.
Freshpet Inc. of Secaucus,
N.J., named WILLIAM
“BILLY” CYR as its new CEO
effective Sept. 6. Cyr
replaced Richard Thompson,
who announced his retirement in March. The
company also expects Cyr to join its board of
directors. Cry brings more than 30 years of
experience working in consumer packaged
foods leadership roles at Sunny Delight
Beverages Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.
Most recently he served as president and CEO
of Sunny Delight for almost 12 years.
Pet Results In Sales & Marketing (PRISM), a
sales, marketing and business development consulting company for pet consumer packaged goods (CPG), announced that
JACK DRASNER, founder, will step down
from his full-time position. Drasner plans to
offer his consulting services at no charge
to select pre-funding pet CPG and service
Vets Plus Inc. of Menomonie, Wis., a
manufacturer of health and nutritional supplements for livestock and companion animals, hired CHANDRALAL A. WEERASINGHE, PH.D., as the company’s chief scientific
officer. Dr. Weerasinghe will assist with the
company’s launch of Apollo Pharma LLC, a
new pharmaceutical company.
Signature Pet Products, the Dublin, Ga.-based marketer and distributor of Hi-Tek
Rations dog and cat foods, appointed
SCOTT HAFF as eastern sales representative for the company. Haff most recently
served as senior territory sales manager
for Dogswell Pet, managing more than
400 independent retail accounts. He was a
territory sales manager for The Nutro Co., a
division of Mars Petcare, where he received
the 2010 Master of Seminars Award.