Boosting Pet Adoptions by the Bay

Michael Levy, co-owner of Pet Food Express, discusses how his retail chain has been able to help drive pet adoptions and educate pet owners by taking on a vital role in organizing the annual Bay Area Pet Fair.


Pet Business: What is the Bay Area Pet Fair?

Michael Levy:
The Bay Area Pet Fair [held Oct. 10-11 at the Marin Center in San Rafael, Calif.] is the largest annual gathering of adoptable pets in one place in the state of California. Over 200 pet rescue groups, animal shelters and pet-related businesses gather for two days to get rescue animals adopted and to educate the animal-loving public about good pet nutrition and all of the products and services available for their pets. Over 15,000 visitors attended last year’s event.

PB: What inspired Pet Food Express to get involved with this event? How does it fit with your overall approach to community involvement?

The original promoter of the Bay Area Pet Fair ran out of funds and the event was canceled; but several years later, Pet Food Express resurrected it. We had participated when it was a much smaller, local event and thought it had the potential to grow into a very special, large one. The Bay Area Pet Fair fits perfectly with Pet Food Express’s many programs, which are all about supporting animal rescues and shelters, as well as educating people about healthy and safe pet foods and products.

PB: What is Pet Food Express’ role with the Bay Area Pet Fair?

We staff and sponsor the entire event and coordinate all of the rescues and shelters, vendors, entertainment and food, as well as the facility. Rescues and shelters are paid $50 for every animal they adopt out during the pet fair and the following week. They are given a full week to make sure people have time to make a solid decision about adopting a pet. We want these adoptions to be lasting.

PB: How has the event changed or improved since Pet Food Express got involved?

It grows every year in attendance of visitors, vendors and groups participating. It has also become an event that people anticipate. They contact the rescues and shelters ahead of time to get in their applications for pet adoptions. Each year, a record number of animals get adopted. Last year, 814 pets found new homes at the Bay Area Pet Fair, and this year’s goal is 1,000 adoptions.

PB: What does the future hold for the Bay Area Pet Fair?

We expect continued overall growth, which in turn will attract more visitors and get more pets adopted. Last year, Pet Food Express expanded into Southern California, and we can see duplicating this highly successful event in that market as well.

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