18 MADE IN THE USA Spring 2017
Neal: i think the biggest challenge we
have in selling nonfood USA products is
price. Toys, beds, etc., that are U.S. made
tend to be more expensive than others
and can sometimes be a barrier to what
people choose to purchase.
Hunter: Made in USA costs more; however,
educating customers and talking about
the U.S. economy always helps.
Picone: The challenge comes from the
limited amount of product available,
especially in the toy category. We try to
focus on finding more made in the USA
toys because our customers appreciate
when we offer them. We also look for
other products at trade shows such as
global pet Expo and SuperZoo [so] we
can highlight made in the USA.
Di Tullio: While it’s true that some USA-made products can be more expensive,
the quality or the good reputation of the
company can make up for that. There are
also companies that strive to reduce their
carbon footprint via recycling, among
other things, which many people appreciate and support. Most people who are
interested in products made in the USA
are aware that the cost will be higher, but
that the quality will be as well.
PPN: How do you promote this category within
Neal: Currently, we don’t have a specific
USA section within our store. We group
most of our toys by manufacturer, making it easy to point out U.S.-made items,
like West paw Design and planet Dog.
Hunter: We separate USA toys from toys
that are not made in the USA, and utilize
good signage and USA stickers.
Picone: We merchandise made in the
USA products in a special section. We
also promote made in the USA with
signage. Sales associates are trained
to include made in the USA when they
talk about a product that falls into that
Di Tullio: Many of our stores have a section
devoted to toys and treats made in the
USA. it’s easy to direct customers to a
single section, and it gives them the op-
portunity to compare the quality of these
products. We try to always have an array
of products to allow customers to find
something that appeals to them.
PPN: Where would you like to see the USA-made
products trend evolve in the pet arena?
Neal: i would love to see more U.S. options
in the toy department. it seems all of
our stuffed toys, even though a U.S.
company makes them, are still manu-
factured in China. people really would
like to see more toys made in the U.S.
considering the dogs and cats are putting
these items in their mouths. people that
are leery of Chinese-made goods really
have a hard time selecting toys they feel
Hunter: i would like to see more supplements and toys being made in the U.S.
“Many of our stores have a section devoted
to toys and treats made in the USA. It’s easy
to direct customers to a single section, and
it gives them the opportunity to compare
the quality of these products.”
—Michael Di Tullio of Especially for Pets