A Home Run in Pet Care
Brad Cantwell, president of MidWest Homes for Pets, points out some of his company's latest pet product innovations.
Pet Business: At Global Pet Expo, MidWest Homes for Pets introduced the Hen Haven Chicken Coop and the Hoppity Habitat Rabbit Hutch. What prompted the development of these products, and what makes them unique in the market?
Brad Cantwell: MidWest has long been a leader in rabbit housing with our very popular Wabbitat rabbit cage. However, we wanted to expand our offering to include a housing option for those with multiple and outdoor rabbits. MidWest was also looking to respond to the growing trend in owning urban and backyard chickens.
Our new chicken coop and rabbit hutch feature a unique and attractive gray-tone wood-grain finish, and the composite plastic wood is extremely durable and weather resistant. Both products are sturdy, yet able to be moved around the yard to preserve grass and to allow adequate scratching and pecking ground. The easy assembly is an attractive feature; both units can be assembled by one or two people in 30 minutes or less.
PB: MidWest Homes for Pets’ QuietTime Defender series of beds features Teflon Fabric Protector to keep the beds cleaner, longer. What does using this well-known branded technology bring to the table, in terms of attracting customer attention? What are some of the other key features of QuietTime Defender beds?
Cantwell: As a leading manufacturer of pet beds, MidWest is excited to bring trusted Teflon fabric protection technology to our product offering. For more than 70 years, the Teflon brand has brought world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace through innovative products and materials. Fabrics treated with Teflon repellent finish fight off dry soil, pet dander and coat oils, and they fend off nasty, unpredictable spills, splashes and “accidents,” allowing liquids to bead up and roll off into the appropriate receptacle. Liquid spills can easily be wiped away when blotted with a clean cloth, and dry soil can be brushed off easily.
Teflon fabric protector does not impact the fabric’s weight, look, feel, color or breathability, and it allows pet parents to keep their pet bed looking fresh and clean. Nothing matches the superior stain protection of Teflon.
QuietTime Defender Series pet beds come in attractive and fun colors and patterns—floral pink, floral orange and floral green—and they feature comfortable poly-fiber-filled bolsters. They are machine washable, and they fit standard crates or can be used alone.
PB: While MidWest Homes for Pets has offered wood pet gates for years, the company recently introduced steel options in the category. What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of these new products?
Cantwell: While our wood gates offer a simple solution for basic containment, MidWest’s Steel Pet Gates offer a popular and extra secure pressure-mounted option to keep pets in a safe place within the family home. The attractive finishes—a unique graphite gray and smooth white—make these gates aesthetically pleasing. The gates feature a one-handed operating door that swings both directions, and closes and locks automatically for convenience. In addition to two colors, they come in two heights, 29 and 39 inches, with three-inch, six-inch and 11-inch extensions sold separately. They are an attractive addition to any home, protecting both pets and a pet parent’s household interior.
PB: MidWest recently expanded its popular Dry Paws line of house-training products. Can you tell us about the newest addition to the line?
Cantwell: Our newest addition to the Dry Paws product line is a patent-pending, silicone, waterproof Potty Pad Holder. The flexible, easy-to-clean, soft molded holder has magnetic tabs that keep potty pads in place. The raised edges protect floors and contain messes. It accommodates 23- by 24-inch potty pads and offers extra floor protection and peace of mind.
PB: In our December 2014 issue, Pet Business recognized MidWest Homes for Pets with an Industry Recognition Award for its Skudo travel carriers. This year, the company added Spree Pet Carriers. Can you tell us about the new carriers and how they complement the award-winning Skudo?
Cantwell: Our deluxe Skudo carrier allowed us to enter into the plastic carrier category and expand our offering of pet containment solutions. Our new Spree Pet Carriers have the amenities of most plastic carriers—excellent ventilation, carrying handle and durability. They are geared toward smaller dogs and cats, and they come at a lower price point and feature a simple, four-step assembly. They come in three bright and fun fashion colors. Spree can be ordered in a mixed master from which the carton will convert into an attractive point-of-purchase display.
PB: What does the future hold for MidWest Homes for Pets? Are there any particular areas that the company is looking at, in terms of product development?
Cantwell: MidWest is built on innovation, quality assurance and product development that is responsive to consumer needs. For example, in keeping with the aforementioned company values, MidWest just rolled out an enhanced MAXLock door for our LifeStages ACE crate line. We will continue to follow our heritage and will soon bring additions to our QuietTime pet bed line, our wire crate offerings and new products in the small animal category.