Putting Independents First
Dan Schmitz, national sales manager for KLN Family Brands, discusses the company’s unsurpassed commitment to independent pet retailers.
Pet Business: Tell us a bit about KLN Family Brands’ approach to providing high-quality pet food. What makes your company and products unique in a very competitive marketplace?
Dan Schmitz: Our No. 1 priority at KLN is producing the safest pet food possible. Our new state-of-the-art facility was built with food safety in mind. We also partner with local farmers and global animal nutrition companies to provide the best quality ingredients that go into our food. Our people are what make the difference, as we have over 17 people with over 40 years of experience in producing the highest quality pet food possible.
PB: In April, KLN Family Brands was the first pet food manufacturer to pull its products off of Chewy.com in the wake of the online retailer’s acquisition by PetSmart. What inspired this decision?
Schmitz: We have always been very consistent with this message of not selling to big-box retailers like PetSmart. When the announcement came out about PetSmart acquiring Chewy.com, our decision was easy.
PB: How does it reflect the company’s overall commitment to independent pet retailers?
Schmitz: By being the first manufacturer to take this stance and do it immediately, I believe we showed independent retailers that they are No. 1 to us, as there was a substantial amount of business out there with Chewy.com. We have a true commitment to independent retailers!
PB: How has the decision to remove your products from Chewy.com been received by brick-and-mortar pet specialty retailers? Have you gotten much feedback?
Schmitz: We have received nothing but positive feedback. We had many retailers stop by our booth at SuperZoo and thank us for this decision. It has been a fun story to tell.
PB: What are some of the latest products from KLN Family Brands? What are some of their key features?
Schmitz: We have launched eight new dry items, including new grain-free puppy formulas. We have also introduced 20-plus canned SKUs for both dogs and cats. Freeze-dried treats for both dogs and cats will also be coming soon.
PB: What does the future hold for KLN Family Brands, particularly in terms of your partnership with independent retailers?
Schmitz: We will continue to support these very important retailers, as they are not only the present for us but also the future. We have never had more sales representation out on the street than we do today, and we are in stores across the USA and Canada supporting independents and working together to grow their business. PB