October 2018 Pet Product News International 85
Gone to the Dogs focuses on fun,
nutrition-packed products to keep pets
entertained and in good health.
Gina Swansburg, owner of Gone to the Dogs in Wakefield, Mass.
Years in business: 11
Type of business: brick-and-mortar
A Dog’s Delight
Pet Product News: What are the top-selling products in your store right now?
Gina Swansburg: Answers Pet Food’s goat’s milk in all sizes and body parts of all
kinds. Goat’s milk has been a top seller for us for quite some time. Raw as well as
kibble feeders are using it daily. Also, we’ve been experiencing some long stretches
of hot, humid weather, and frozen goat’s milk cubes are a perfect treat. But, for
others, keeping dogs occupied with a bully stick or chew when traveling or if it’s
too hot to be out makes life easier.
PPN: What are your favorite products right now?
Swansburg: Nourish air-dried treats from Isle of Dogs, which are new here at Gone
to the Dogs and are flying out the door. I also like Puppy Scoops ice cream from
Puppy Cake. It is the perfect warm-weather treat.
PPN: What industry trends have you been keeping your eye on most closely?
Swansburg: I’m watching what is happening with the raw food portion of the
industry and how many companies are turning to high-pressure processing (HPP).
PPN: What business challenge are you currently in the process of tackling?
Swansburg: Trying to hire additional help is a huge challenge right now. It’s been
hard to find help for a couple of reasons. First, it’s summer—many who would be
looking for part-time work will wait until September or so to look. And unemployment is low so the pool of available people is small. Word-of-mouth, Craigslist,
Indeed—I will work those for a while, and hopefully the right person will come
PPN: What business goal are you hoping to achieve this year?
Swansburg: My goals include increasing my staff and putting my marketing
efforts back on track. My plan for marketing is to find my marketing calendar and
start using it again. Once I get back into my old routine, it will all fall into place.
PPN: What is your best tip for connecting with customers?
Swansburg: It’s important to me that my staff and I are genuine and honest with
Gone to the Dogs in Wakefield, Mass.,
offers a variety of goodies to please pets
and owners alike.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF GONE TO THE DOGS
which has U.S.
named BIANCA ROSSI
as its head of marketing, Americas.
In her new role, Rossi will be re-
sponsible for overseeing the devel-
opment and implementation of the
company’s marketing strategy,
including business-to-business and
development, trade and digital
marketing initiatives, budget
management and execution, along
with various public relations and
social media marketing responsi-
bilities. She will be working closely
with the company’s Americas
sales team and with the compa-
ny’s product management and
operations teams to execute these
and other initiatives to contribute
to growth in the Americas.
Rossi previously served as an
associate digital marketing manager at Outward Hound. She has
experience in e-commerce, digital
and trade marketing, with a strong
background in social media and
content management, influencer
marketing, and consumer and
trade event marketing.
Treat Planet, an Earth City,
Mo.-based subsidiary of Evergreen Holdings, has hired PAUL
LAROSE as vice president of sales
LaRose has extensive knowl-
edge of the pet industry. Before
joining Treat Planet, he was the
director of North American sales
for Cosmos, a manufacturer of
grooming and dental products
under TropiClean Pet Products. He
has extensive experience working
with distributors in the pet special-
ty segment. Further, he had direct
oversight to many of the national
LaRose will help Treat Planet expand its sales efforts with a
state-of-the-art customer support
center and expansion of the company’s sales and support resource
for customers and sales representatives nationwide, said company
MELINDA MILLER has been hired
as CEO of Bravo Pet Foods, a Man-
chester, Conn.-based family-owned
provider of raw and cooked meals
and treats for pets. Previously, Mill-
er held executive positions at Earth
Animal Ventures, MiracleCorp,
Smith Ridge Veterinary Center and
Animal Nutrition Technologies.
She is the co-founder and presi-
dent of the North American Raw
Petfood Association and was a
Bravo co-founder and its managing
director for six years beginning in
Miller has been professionally involved in every aspect of
the companion animal industry
for more than 20 years. She has
managed the largest integrative (holistic and conventional)
veterinary hospital in the country,
according to company officials.
She has provided management,
behavioral and nutritional advice to
veterinarians, canine trainers and
day care facilities as well as pet
Lafayette Bay Products, maker of
the Orono, Minn.-based Spunky
Pup brand, has hired CRAIG
O’KEEFE as the company’s
senior vice president of sales and
He previously held execu-tive-level positions at Dog Gone
Smart Pet Products, where he was
the senior vice president of sales
and marketing for the past six
years. In addition, he was the vice
president of sales and marketing
at both P.L.A. Y. (Pet Lifestyle And
You) and Fab4 Pets. He also was
the co-founder and president of
California Solutions, which made
the Pet Aromatics line for several
O’Keefe’s initial area of focus
will be the worldwide expansion
and development for the pet
specialty, lawn/garden, tack/feed,
hardware, specialty grocer and
specialty retail markets.