34 Pet Product News International July 2017
JULY 24-27 | MANDALAY BAY CONVENTION CENTER | LAS VEGAS
The World Pet Association’s (WPA) annual SuperZoo
trade show, which will
be held from July 24
to 27 at the Mandalay
Bay Resort in Las
Vegas, has certainly
over the years, but its
evolution is not defined
merely by its expansive
size and its increasing
numbers of attendees
and exhibitors. WPA has
also sought to continue
refining the yearly pet
to be more valuable and
productive for everyone
who attends the four-day
event. Pet Product News
recently caught up with
WPA president Doug
Poindexter to discuss how
the show is evolving and
why SuperZoo continues
to be a must-go-to event
for thousands of pet
PET PRODUCT NEWS: Over the years, WPA has
worked to refine the show experience for both
attendees and exhibitors. Tell us about any
changes you’ve made for the 2017 show aimed
at enhancing the experience for attendees.
DOUG POINDEXTER: Each year, after SuperZoo, WPA
looks at the post show surveys from attendees
and exhibitors alike to determine what was
well-received and learn ways to improve. One
major change we’re making is—after adding
85,000 square feet of exhibit space in 2016—
SuperZoo will reconfigure its exhibit hall for
2017 so aisles run perpendicular, making them
shorter and easier for attendees to navigate.
PPN: On the other side of things, in what ways
has WPA worked to make the show more
valuable and beneficial for exhibitors?
DP: In 2016, SuperZoo staged its largest show
to date with a more than 4 percent increase in
attendees and 8 percent increase in companies
attending over 2015. The 2016 event also
boasted the most exhibitors of any similar
event, with nearly 1,200 participating. These
record-breaking numbers cemented SuperZoo’s
place as the largest pet retail show in North
America in terms of buyer participation.
That being said, the quality of buyers is
extremely important to our exhibitors, so we
implemented a new and improved registration
system whereby qualified buyers who have
registered for SuperZoo in the past will be able to
use a personalized form, prepopulated with their
past registration information, to register. Those
who have not registered previously, or those for
whom we do not have enough information to
prequalify them, will be asked to supply business
information to ensure they are qualified.
These improvements will help SuperZoo
remain a popular and important event
for all segments of the industry.
PPN: The grooming contests and educational
opportunities are also major components of
SuperZoo. Tell us a bit about this year’s offerings
and what attendees stand to get out of them.
DP: WPA has found there are more and more
retailers and groomers attending SuperZoo who
are hungry to learn new ways to improve their
business. So, we’ve added to our educational
offerings to match that desire, and this year will
have more than 80 total sessions. Retailers are
looking for help in any number of areas: general
business practices, merchandising, hiring,
e-commerce and social media, among many
others. SuperZoo gives retailers the opportunity
to step up and make changes to realize a
marked improvement in their businesses.
Grooming and service industry sessions are
geared toward building your business, and
animal wellness sessions focus on small animal
care in stores and best practices for birds and
reptiles. This year, we’re hosting our free Animal
Wellness sessions right on the trade show
floor to give attendees more access to this
information. Whether you’re a service professional
or a retailer, animal health and wellness is
an important aspect of any pet business.
A few years ago, we moved the bulk of
our education program to Monday, before
the show opens, so retailers can have
access to the education they want and still
have plenty of time on the show floor.
PPN: What inspired this year’s SuperZoo
theme, “Better Together”? What
is the message behind it?
DP: The theme better reflects the inclusive
nature of an event that welcomes everyone
from independent retailers to groomers
to international and corporate buyers.
I think it also goes back to the culture of
SuperZoo; we present a more fun and casual
atmosphere. That’s partially because we continue
to focus on the independent retailer, even with
the expansion we’ve seen in recent years.
PPN: As you mentioned, WPA has made it a
priority to be inclusive of all sectors of the
pet industry, including exotics, aquatics
and bird, for example. What can attendees
expect to find in these categories?
DP: This is definitely the case—we at WPA care a
great deal about supporting all segments of the
pet industry. The show neighborhoods Aquatic
Terrace and Critter Alley are two key ways that we
do this. We gather specialized exhibitors together
in one area so retailers can quickly and easily find
the products and connections they’re looking for.
In 2017, we’re adding a number of special
features for our aquatic retailers in particular.
This year, they will have a dedicated Aquatic
Lounge, and we’ll have three days of interactive
demonstrations with noted aquarist Oliver Knott.
We’re thrilled to be able to provide this up-close
interaction with such a big-name aquatic master.
PPN: How vital is it to the health of the overall
industry that these pet categories thrive
along with the dog and cat segments?
DP: Our attendees run the gamut from small pet
retailers to specialty retailers to big-box stores and
everywhere in between. The entrepreneurial spirit
that runs through SuperZoo amazes me every year,
and having new, fresh products to see in every
segment makes the show something you can’t
miss. Small retailers know they have to differentiate
themselves by continuing to be the neighborhood
alternative with personable customer service and
unique, hand-selected products. So being able
to see, purchase and stock supplies from those
other categories is more and more important.
PPN: Is there a growing representation
of international exhibitors at SuperZoo?
And if so, what value do these exhibitors
bring to the overall fabric of the show?
DP: Yes, we’ve seen an uptick in international
exhibitors over the past few years. So buyers
will be able to find a premier assortment of
new pet products from abroad, including
China and Brazil. Quite simply, they bring a
unique perspective and selection of products
from their home countries that retailers in
the United States may not be familiar with.
PPN: Are there any other particular
highlights of this year’s event that
people should be sure to check out?
DP: I always look forward to the concert, and this
year is no different. Country music star Trace
Adkins will grace the House of Blues stage on
Wednesday, July 26. I hope everyone enjoys his
high-energy stage show and numerous hits.
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