Excellence at Any Size



The pet specialty channel’s premier chains experienced yet another year of remarkable growth in 2016, and there is no sign that this trend will be slowing down anytime soon. 

In fact, as you will read in this month’s cover story, the expansion of these chains is actually accelerating. The number of stores represented in Pet Business’ Top 25 Retailers list—which ranks pet chains based how many units they operate in North America—grew at an annual rate that was about double the average experienced in any of the previous 10 years. Interestingly, the industry’s top retailers have not been limited to the confines of their local markets—or even geographic regions—in growing their brands. In some cases, a chain may be simultaneously expanding its presence in the Midwest, Southwest and West Coast, while also gaining a foothold on the East Coast. As a result, the pet retail landscape is experiencing seismic changes that have made it necessary for us to make the Top 25 list—once a biannual feature—into a yearly fixture in the pages of Pet Business.

However, success in the pet specialty channel is not solely the domain of these rapidly expanding chains. There are still many smaller retail operations out there that are doing much more than holding their own in the face of increased competition from not only bigger brick-and-mortar competitors, but also internet-based outlets that wield low prices and convenience like weapons. 

Take Healthy Pet Products in Pittsburgh, for example. As you will read in this month’s Retailer Profile, owner Toni Shelaske has been able to apply the retail skills that she honed in the human fashion world to build a successful three-store operation. The winner of the Retailer Excellence Award for Store Design at last year’s Global Pet Expo, each Healthy Pet Products offers a carefully curated product selection and best-in-class customer service in an engaging selling environment that stands up against even the most polished chain stores.

But Healthy Pet Products is not the only small retailer that deserves recognition. That is why Pet Business and the organizers of Global Pet Expo created the Retailer Excellence Awards. Now in its sixth year, the program is designed to honor pet retailers large and small for their accomplishments in areas such as merchandising, customer service, marketing and community service, to name just a few. 

This year, we want a chance to recognize your business. If you click here, you will find a form that can be used to nominate your store(s) in as many categories as you like. Vendors are also invited to nominate their stand-out retail partners. And, of course, you are all also invited to see who the winners are at the awards ceremony, which will be held at the Industry Breakfast before day two of the 2017 Global Pet Expo (March 22-24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.)

We hope to see you there.  


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