Doyle and Dorothy Hunter, owners of Richland, Wash.-based owners of Paw's Natural Pet Emporium—the 2013 Global Pet Expo Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer (less than 10 stores)—discuss how a commitment to educating customers about healthy living for pets has enabled them to grow a powerhouse retail brand.
Congratulations on the Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer Award at Global Pet Expo! What does the win mean to you and your staff?
Winning the Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer Award validates our mission to promote and educate our customers about healthy living for their pets, as well as, an excellent customer experience. It is exciting to see our customers take pride in our growth and constant pursuit of improvement.
To what do you attribute the success of Paw's Natural Pet Emporium?
Our goal has always been to exceed the expectations of our customers and expand our knowledge on products that increase the quality of life in their pets. To improve our service, we highly encourage our employees to set personal goals both within the store and for their future. The employees here at Paw's are given the opportunity to learn about not only the products, but also the industry as a whole. This leads them to have the initiative to go above and beyond in their dedication and interaction with the customers.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced over the past few years, and how have you overcome that challenge?
In the five years that we have been open now, one our our greatest challenges has been not only expanding our floor space, but also adding to our product selection to meet our customer's needs. As a result of customer requests, we opened our second location, which introduced us to a POS system. Learning a new operating system has had its own challenges, such as inventory control, purchase orders, customer loyalty programs, etc. Although this has been a daunting and time-consuming task, we are excited to have the opportunity to better serve our customers.
What has been your approach to growing your retail brand into a successful chain. What are your expectations/goals moving forward?
Our approach to growing our retail brand, at this point, is focusin
g on our present customers and serving our local community. As we continue to grow, opportunities may arise for further expansion, while all are taken into consideration, we would like to take things one step at a time.
What is your favorite part about being in the pet industry?
Our favorite part of being in the pet industry is that, as people are learning there are more healthy life choices available for their pets, we are able to introduce these healthy alternatives to our customers. In an industry that is constantly changing for the better, we love being on the ground floor of such an inspiring, promising and ever-changing market. With the industry trending towards more natural and health conscious products, it is drawing more compassion towards animals, and as a result happier pets.