25 February 2019 Pet Product News International
What is Happy Dog Café, Boutique and Spa
best known for?
Brian Anderson: Our customer service,
family-oriented atmosphere and community
What is the biggest challenge for the independent retailer?
Anderson: Cash flow. Whether it comes to stocking items or adding more employees or expanding
services, cash flow is our biggest concern.
For the pet industry overall?
Anderson: Convenience. With the online retailers
out there, you have to find ways to get your
customers to say, “I want to shop local, but I want
the convenience of online.” I think a lot of retailers
haven’t embraced that concept yet.
Are you watching any interesting trends in the
Anderson: The cat market is really starting to
take off, and we are planning to expand our Kitty
Korner. It’s as if we are treating all God’s creatures
like our own, and I love that.
What do you see for the future of Happy Dog
Anderson: Increased sales online. That will be
our biggest project for the next few years, with a
huge emphasis on customer service and delivery.
IT’S A RETAIL LIFE
A mix of dehydrated, raw, kibble and canned food offerings encompass a broad range of natural, organic and holistic choices, with no fillers, byproducts or artificial coloring.
“The nourishment and well-being of the pet is our No.
1 objective,” he says. “We focus on dehydrated and raw
USA-made products are highlighted across the entire
inventory of foods and supplies.
“When purchasing made in the USA products, we are
employing our own citizens, and we feel very strongly
about that,” Anderson says.
The Kitty Korner supplies cat lovers and their charges
with feline foods and supplies.
Anderson says Happy Dog Café endeavors to present
“We carry a full range of pet supplies and really pride
ourselves on our more unique items, things not found in
a big box,” he says. “We further differentiate through our
The Happy Dog Café bakery features an old-fashioned,
glass-fronted case where shoppers can select goodies for
their pets. In true southern style, an employee hand delivers
selected treats to recipients. Most popular are McCarter’s
own creations, Bow-Wow bones and cheese balls.
“My mom has baked these treats for 10 years,” Anderson says.
Besides McCarter’s delicacies, a broad array of delights—for example, carob muffins or Doggie Daiquiris—
tantalize the canine palate on a daily basis. Furry birthday
celebrants tuck into Barkday cakes on their special day.
COMPASSION, PATIENCE, MERRYMAKING
With seven groomers on staff, the store’s grooming facility,
launched in 2011, occupies approximately 900 square feet
of space, yet the service is the largest overall segment of the
“We have a two-week lead time for grooming appointments,” Anderson says.
“The success of our grooming salon comes down to
plenty of attention to detail and doing everything possible
to satisfy our customers.”
A scheduler oversees appointment booking, while a
grooming manager, who has been with the company since
the inception of the department, takes charge of training
and grooming employee duties.
Groomers impart pre-groom, after care and nutritional
education to customers.
“If we notice a dog that has dry or flakey skin, for instance, we want to try to get those pets into a higher-quality
food,” Anderson says.
Compassion, patience, a high level of skill, attention to
detail and outstanding customer service are key characteristics in a groomer.
“We’re talking great groomers that groom in the Happy
Dog way,” he says. “We want to make sure our four-legged
clients receive exceptional care.”
Along with grooming, dog day care also joined the 2011
service rollout. Initially offered on a small-scale basis, with
seven to 10 dogs participating, facilities today span 1,700
square feet of indoor space. Up to 30 pooches gambol in
size-appropriate rooms and delight in a mix of daily ac-
tivities—scrambling after laser lights, snapping at floating
bubbles or sniffing out hidden treats in the ball pit. A stroll
to the local downtown park provides canine merrymak-
ers with outdoor stimulation before returning to the cli-
mate-controlled play area for more fun.
“We don’t have outdoor facilities, but most of our dogs
are indoor dogs, and they are happy as a lark here,” he says.
“We have a waiting list.”
Employees working in the day care facilities are well
educated in canine behavior, with a local expert providing
tutelage and expertise.
Pet Pro Tip #122: Don’t forget to schedule time for you. Build time into your
day for goal setting, marketing, administration and other tasks that will help keep
your business running smoothly.
Explore this year’s programming at
Break out of your grooming routine at Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference, where you’ll find more
than 60 education sessions covering topics from team building to CPR certification and
more. Online registration ends soon—don’t miss this opportunity to get inspired and learn
from some of the best in the business.
March 7-10, 2019