The Shape of Success
With a wide assortment of healthy, natural treats and chews, Pet ’n Shape has been “Serving Happiness to People and Pets” for more than a decade.
Ahdee Abramson has come a long way since he started going door to door to sell chicken jerky products to pet retailers and making deliveries from the back of his car. In a little more than a decade, he has taken what began as a single product line and has grown it into a diverse mix of natural treats and chews under the popular Pet ’n Shape brand.
“I didn’t do it alone, though,” says Abramson, noting that he has to give a lot of credit to two long-time pet industry veterans—his father, Arie Abramson, and Bob Greenwald—for playing a significant role in the ultimate success of Pet ’n Shape. “It was very much a team effort.”
While chicken jerky pet treats were definitely on the rise when Abramson started his enterprise in 2005, the category was still in a relatively early stage of development and offered ample opportunity for vendors with high-quality, innovative products—and vision.
“At the time, the chicken jerky category was limited to just a couple of items,” says Abramson. “We felt that it could be a whole category, so we came out with eight items, as opposed to just focusing on chicken jerky and chicken chips. We expanded the category, which is part of what set us apart from other companies.”
What also set Pet ’n Shape apart from its competitors is the level of service it provided, and still provides, to its retailer customers. “I’ve always believed that it is important to take care of your customers and felt that would be the biggest differentiator for us—the sales, service, support and responsiveness that we could provide to our customers,” he says.
This approach has driven Pet ’n Shape to new heights over the past decade, a period during which the company greatly expanded not only its distribution, but also its product offerings. “We’ve always been looking to introduce new products into the category and expand our lines,” says Abramson, pointing to the introduction of Pet ’n Shape’s Long Lasting Chewz as the first step in that expansion.
Available in two flavor varieties, the highly digestible chews are a combination of rawhide wrapped with either chicken breast fillets or sweet potato, sprinkled with brown rice crispies. Both variations are fortified with glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints and come in four-, six- and eight-inch bones, as well as 2.5-inch rings.
Next, Pet ’n Shape moved into the freeze-dried treat category with the roll-out of its 100% Natural Chicken Liver Plus dog and cat lines, as well as its 100% Natural Peanut Butter Plus line for dogs. Products in these lines are formulated with either chicken liver or peanut butter that has been freeze dried to preserve its aroma, flavor and nutritional value, paired with various fruits and vegetables to create healthy, nutrient-rich snacks.
Abramson says that there has always been a common thread between all of the products that Pet ’n Shape has introduced over the years. “The brand has always been about all-natural treats and chews,” he says. “That means no artificial additives, colors or preservatives, and no wheat, corn or soy. All of our products meet those standards.”
This includes the company’s lineup of made- and sourced-in-the-USA products, including natural beef lung Chunx and Slices, All-Natural Dog Bones and Dog Chewz, and All-Natural Chicken Jerky and Beef Jerky Strips and Stix. According to Abramson, Pet ’n Shape started rolling out this latest introduction about four years ago in response to growing consumer demand for domestically sourced pet treats.
“We started off with body parts, introducing things like chicken feet, turkey feet and duck feet to more of the masses,” he says. “And eventually we expanded into treats that are made and sourced in the U.S.”
In addition to hitting the target when it comes to the made-in-the-USA trend, these products also appeal to consumers’ desire to feed their pets simple, wholesome treats. “The overall trend is people are looking for simpler ingredient lists that they can understand, and that lends itself nicely to [these products],” says Abramson.
More recently, instead of adding entirely new product lines, the company has been focused on expansion within its existing lines by introducing different sizes and packs. “We’ve introduced some larger sizes, like tubs,” Abramson notes, pointing to products like Pet ’n Shape’s chicken feet and beef lung products as items that are now available in bigger, one-pound sizes.
Abramson says the company will keep adding variety within its existing lines, as well as innovate the all-natural treats and chews category with more product introductions. “We will continue to evolve and expand our lines, and introduce items that meet our standards of being all-natural,” he says.
While the company remains committed to growing its offerings with a steady stream of high-quality products, Abramson says that he believes it is Pet ‘n Shape’s focus on service and support that will continue to make it stand out from other players in the marketplace. “We want to have great products, but there are a lot of great products and brands out there,” he explains. “So, our greatest differentiation is still in the quality of service and support that we can offer to retailers, distributors and consumers—everyone in the supply chain.
“Our slogan and our mission statement is: ‘Serving Happiness to People and Pets;’ and that extends beyond the products and includes how we treat our employees, our vendors, our customers and consumers. We realize that business is full of challenges, and we try to make all of the transactions we have as simple as possible. We understand that there are always going to be issues, but it’s how those issues are handled that separates good companies from the bad ones.”
Some of the ways in which Pet ’n Shape is “serving happiness” to its retailer partners is by supporting in-store events and promotions, as well as doing a lot of co-op advertising. In addition, the company is always ready and willing to assist with merchandising to help drive sales. “I’ve always felt that one of the strongest tools for selling products is to create beautiful displays that will attract customers in the store,” says Abramson. “We’re willing to come in and help you set up that display or put it together for you.”
Moving forward, retailers can expect Pet ’n Shape to remain true to its approach of offering both high-quality products and responsive retailer support as the company keeps growing at the exciting pace it has established over its first decade in business. “We don’t want to lose sight of what got us here,” says Abramson.