PET PRODUCT NEWS: Lookingbackat2017, howdidyourbusinessfare?
What business strategy did you employ to improve your brand, and how
did that endeavor work out for you?
PATTIE BODEN: My biggest challenge this year is learning how to
think like a millennial. As a former advertising agency creative director—before I opened the store 16 years ago—who used to think
on paper, go for the big idea, and design big flowing graphics,
learning how to tailor my promotional materials to be attractive
and effective on an iPhone has been a huge adjustment. I’ve also
researched millennial marketing habits and branched out into more
social media, viral videos, online contests and television. But I’m
seeing great results, and my business with that demographic is
RYAN KWATERSKI: 2017 was a mixed year. We made some great
strides in some areas, stayed unchanged in others and identified
areas for improvement for 2018. One thing we tried out in 2017 was
using coupons to bring customers into the store, and at the end of
the day, we realized that just wasn’t working for us. Perhaps this is
unique to our clientele or maybe our region, but we have decided to
walk away from coupons and focus on providing transparent and
tangible value at a nondiscounted rate for 2018.
DON PAYNE: CountryMax Stores had a very challenging 2017 as
a pet supplies retailer. Sales in 2017 had shown the effects of the
changes in purchasing by pet owners as they have flooded to online
purchasing. Sales in major pet foods and pet supplies have declined
in the best of our locations and [can be] attributed very specifically to the loss of customers from the massively supported online
pet food and supplies outlets. 2017 was the beginning of the very
noticeable decline in pet food sales even as pet ownership and pet
owner purchasing has grown to new market levels. I believe 2017
was a benchmark year where the growth of the market spending
by pet owners did not outgrow the amount of sales loss that brick-and-mortar had been dealt by the online sales switch.
It is nothing new at all to the retail segment, but CountryMax
Stores is attempting to differentiate ourselves with our physical
building facility from other options our local customers have. We
have renovated some existing stores to our country barn post and
PATTIE BODEN, owner of Animal Connection in
RYAN KWATERSKI, senior manager at Bend Pet Express,
which has stores in Bend, Ore.
DON PAYNE, co-owner of CountryMax, which has
stores in New York state
DENISE STRONG, owner of Pawz On Main in
MARK VITT, co-owner of Mutts & Co., which has
stores in Ohio
Retailers Yearn for
Five winners of Pet Product News’ 2017-2018 Retailer of the Year Awards
debate the value of MAP policies, look at the year past and discuss what
they really want from manufacturers.