BY JENNIFER BONCY AND LINDSE Y WOJCIK
Global Pet Expo, held March 22 to 24 at the Or- ange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., shattered records this year, and manufacturers, retailers and other industry participants report
that the annual event provided myriad opportunities
to buy, sell and network their way toward their business goals.
The show, which is presented by the American Pet
Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry
Distributors Association (PIDA), sold out the exhibit
space that made up the general show ;oor and special sections for the first time, said Andy ;armohra;,
executive vice president and COO of APPA.
The 343,700 net square feet of exhibit space featured 1,130 pet product manufacturers touting their
products and services to the 6,629 independent retailers, distributors and mass-market buyers who
attended the show. ;armohra; reported an ; percent
growth in show exhibitors and more than a 10 percent
increase in the number of attendees.
Exhibitors showcased the latest products for all
types of pets including dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles,
small animals and horses. More than 3,000 new products were launched at this year’s show.
Retail buyers were excited to learn about the expansive products showcased on the show ;oor. Tayler and Brittany Eastman, co-owners of Eastman’s
Escape for Healthy Pets LLC, a dog care facility in
Winter Park, Fla., attended the show to research dog
treats in response to customer requests.
“We took a poll with a pet parent group, and they
requested dog treats in our store,” Tayler said. “So we
have every sample ever ;from the show ;oor;.;
Global Pet Expo is the pet trade show of choice for
Tayler and Brittany, as it is located only 20 minutes
from their home.
“It’s overwhelming, but it’s amazing,” Tayler said.
“We have learned more about dog and cat food, and
everyone has been really informative.”
Others were less impressed with what they saw
on the show ;oor.
;;The show; was ;;. I think it is getting a little big,
and it is mostly the same,” said Paul Allen, CEO of
Woof Gang Bakery, an Orlando, Fla.-based dog treat
bakery and grooming franchise.
However, Allen valued the opportunity to gather
the company’s franchisees from across the nation in a
“It is our national convention for our franchise and
a time we get 100-plus of our franchisees together,”
On the industry side, Mike Bober, president and
CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
(PIJAC), said the event presents industry members
with a prime opportunity to interact with people
face to face.
“What I really love about the show is the energy
and the enthusiasm,” he said.
Bober also noted that the expo offers an opportune
time and place to work on key issues. For example,
at the show, PIJAC presented the Small Animal Care
Standards, which are intended to define criteria for
the ethical care of animals. Show attendees were in-
vited to ask questions and offer feedback on the stan-
dards, which have been in the drafting stage since the
SuperZoo trade show in Las Vegas last summer.
The organization also hosted what Bober described as “an excellent conversation” with Bernadette Juarez, the deputy administrator of animal care
for the United States Department of Agriculture’s
(USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The discussion addressed many top-of-mind issues
for the pet industry including the USDA’s decision
to remove animal welfare inspection reports from its
website and other matters related to the breeding and
distribution of animals in the pet trade.
Bober said he was encouraged by the work done
at the show.
“The industry is moving forward and moving forward well,” he said.
The New Products Showcase served as an example of how the industry is moving forward. Attendees
were able to preview more than 1,000 new products
in the special section on the show floor. The New
Products Showcase awards presentation on March
23 ranked as one of the many highlights of the show
for manufacturers and retailers alike.
;fficials for the ;agen ;roup, which won the best
in show and second place New Product Showcase
awards in the reptile category for its Exo Terra Gecko
Food and Exo Terra Tall Terrarium, respectively,
raved about the award ceremony.
“We are really excited about our awards in the
New Product Showcase. They are validation of all
the research and development that we came to market with,” said Damian Hall, senior marketing manager at Hagen Group of Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp.
in Mansfield, Mass., noting that the company goes to
great lengths to research the needs and natural tendencies of animals when developing its products.
Hagen Group debuted its new branding at this
year’s Global Pet Expo. Bustling with visitors, the
booths attracted attendees with a robust offering
of new products in several categories, as well as a
handful of playful and adoptable kittens—supplied
by the Pet Alliance for Orlando—that helped showcase the full array of Catit playground options at the
company’s Catit booth.
“This year’s show has been a great success,” Hall
said. “We have been able to debut many new products and received positive reactions from our retail
partners. The success of the show started long before
the doors opened; it began with our product teams
developing relevant product and our marketing and
sales teams engaging our partners to visit our booths.”
In addition to debuting new products, Hagen
;roup made a significant investment to build out
its booth at this year’s show, said COO Thomas
“It has to be viable,” he said.
And it was.
“Our sales team was booked solid before the doors
Lucy Pet Products, based in Thousand Oaks, Ca-
lif., also heavily invested in its sizable booth, which
featured the company’s road-bound spay and neuter
bus, and brand ambassadors Ricky the rescue cat and
Surfin’ ;ack dog. The company’s first pet food offer-
ing, Lucy Pet Formulas for Life, was highlighted at
Author and cat behavior expert Pam Johnson-
Bennett kicked off her Cat Wise Cat Café Tour
presented by Wellness Natural Pet Food
Janet and Lance Reyniers at
the Python Products booth
Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planet’s hit show
“My Cat From Hell” and Melissa Kauffman
CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
of Lumina Media at the Petmate booth
An Expanding Universe
Attendees and exhibitors report robust business at Global Pet Expo.
GLOBAL PET EXPO RECAP
Anthony Bennie of Clear Conscience Pet
(L to R) Bruce Flantzer, Caroline Saelen, Bart
Bonte and Chantal Saelen at the Moderna booth