When it comes to talking to dog owners about new food choices,
education should be a priority—it should not only be an element of store
displays, but also a goal behind conversations.
Steve Ball, co-founder and CMO of I and Love and You in Boulder,
Colo., said that it’s not uncommon for pet owners to have a lot of questions about transitioning food or introducing new ingredients. This offers
retailers the opportunity to step in and help.
“There seems to be a misconception that pets should eat the same
thing every day,” Ball said. “We believe that variety truly is the spice of life.
It would be great if there were more education empowering pet parents
to challenge the norm. Explore new ingredients, introduce variety, and
don’t be afraid to try new brands or flavors. Be more in touch with how
pets respond to different ingredients.”
Bob Rubin, CEO and president of Solid Gold Pet in Greenville, S.C.,
said that partnering with manufacturers can also be incredibly helpful.
At Solid Gold, independent pet specialty retail partners are viewed as the
key behind pet owner education, and the company wants to be there to
support them in that effort, Rubin said.
“We value the relationships store associates have with consumers
and the expertise that they can offer on our brand,” he said. “We’ve
designed a robust nutritional training program that provides ongoing
courses and education for our sales team, which they then relay to our
retailer partners so that store associates are adequately prepared to field
any in-store questions that consumers have.”
Being able to provide the educational support is also critical for pet
retailers that want to foster a loyal customer base, said Joey Herrick,
president of Lucy Pet Products in Westlake Village, Calif.
“Leverage your vendor’s sales reps to train and educate your staff,” he
said. “A knowledgeable store staff will keep consumers coming back into
A hands-on approach is incredibly
helpful, as well. Pattie Boden, owner of
Animal Connection in Charlottesville,
Va., said that visuals really help pet
owners to better understand food
choices. In addition to opening cans
and bags of food for pet owners to
sample, Boden often encourages
customers to see the food, Boden said,
adding that this is particularly helpful
when selling dehydrated foods that
require added water.
“We want our customers to see
what the food is going to look like when
they feed it to their pet, so we’ll do a
demonstration and add water,” Boden
said. “We’re big on opening things up
and showing the customer exactly
what they’re buying.”
CAROLINA PET offers The Big
LeBARKski. The collection,
inspired by the Pendleton Woolen
Mills Westerly sweater and made
famous by Jeff Bridges in “The Big
Lebowski,” a cult classic movie, is
now available in sweaters, toys,
collars, leashes and cowls for pets.
NPIC offers its Grain-Free Twistix
Dental Chew in Vanilla Mint
Flavor. Corn free and low fat, the
chew removes plaque and tartar. It
contains peppermint, parsley and
alfalfa to freshen breath. The chew
is available in small and large sizes.
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CONTACT THESE DISTRIBUTORS FOR MORE INFORMATION
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• Independent Pet Supplies
• Phillips Pet Food & Supplies
• Sunburst Pet Supplies
• United Pacific Pet
• Zeigler’s Distributor, Inc.
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