A Pet Specialty Stalwart
For nearly 40 years, Four Paws Products Ltd. has been helping provide pet stores with a competitive edge against other retail channels.
Allen Simon knows pet specialty retailing. The president and CEO of Four Paws Products Ltd. got his start in the industry in the 1960s as the owner of a small chain of pet shops in Brooklyn, N.Y., called Puppy City. It was in the basement of one of these stores that Simon eventually started what would become one of the industry’s most recognizable product brands.
Four Paws was born in 1971, when Simon emerged from a Puppy City basement with his first manufactured product–a cologne for canines. And it wasn’t long before the company had its first customer: a Macy’s store in Manhattan. Over the next seven years, Simon continued to build on the early success of Four Paws, eventually renting out a nearby storefront to house all of the merchandise he was manufacturing. Finally, the day came when Simon had to make a decision. He passed his chain of Puppy City stores on to his brother and devoted his attention to Four Paws full time.
Simon has never forgotten his roots as an independent pet specialty retailer, which has given him a unique understanding of his customer base of pet product dealers. “Having been in retail helps, because it gives me a feel for what the independents want and need,” he explains.
Since he launched Four Paws, Simon has leveraged his valuable insight to shape the company into a supplier that independent retailers can count on for high-quality products and service. “Four Paws has really been a partner to independent retailers,” he says. “And that will continue because these stores are the foundation of the pet industry.”
Simon notes that to hold up its end of the partnership, Four Paws works closely with its retailer customers to ensure that they receive the value that they need and deserve. “Our sales manager, Tony Hardian, knows that his sales force is supposed to report any problems out there to us,” he says. “He immediately notifies me if and why a store does or doesn’t like something.”
According to Simon, this ongoing dialogue with pet specialty retailers not only ensures that Four Paws is meeting their needs, it has also provided valuable feedback on a variety of ways in which the company can further refine its offerings. For example, Simon says that Four Paws has received many useful suggestions on how to improve the packaging for some of its products.
Freshening Familiar Brands
Sold exclusively through the pet specialty retail channel, Four Paws is one of the most recognizable brands in the industry, with Wee-Wee Pads and Magic Coat shampoos being particular standouts among its familiar product offerings. However, the company isn’t resting on its laurels and depending on the name recognition alone to drive sales in pet stores’ aisles.
Simon says that Four Paws continues to freshen its stalwart brands with updates, such as modernized packaging and new size options, while expanding its product lines organically. Among the company’s newest offerings is a line of pet gates that Simon reports has quickly seen significant growth. And this spring, Four Paws is introducing a new, patented line of high-quality, reflective woven collars.
In addition, the company continues to enhance its valuable name recognition amongst pet owners by investing heavily in product promotion efforts and cooperative advertising with retailers. The result is a list of brands that have a loyal following that continues to grow by the millions each year.