The Best of the Pet Industry, All Under One Roof
Welcome to Global Pet Expo, where everyone who’s anyone in the pet care market has gathered to celebrate and build upon the industry’s incredible success.
My, how far we’ve come. It’s hard to believe that it was just a little more than a decade ago when the inaugural edition of Global Pet Expo changed the pet industry’s trade show landscape by combining two of the market’s most successful annual events—the PIDA PETS Show and The APPMA Show—into the largest, most important gathering in the industry.
Global Pet Expo, and the pet industry, have both grown phenomenally since that first edition in 2005, which featured 2,049 booths housing around 700 exhibiting companies focused on American pet owners, who spent just a little more than $36 billion on their animal companions that year. Fast-forward to today, a year after pet owners spent nearly $70 billion on their pets, attendees will find more than 1,100 exhibitors occupying more than 3,500 booths at this year’s show, making it the biggest Global Pet Expo yet.
It’s no coincidence that the pet care market and its premier trade show have experienced a similar growth arc over the past 13 years. It is testament to the powerful role that Global Pet Expo has played in driving the success of the industry and its players—one that is echoed over and over by pet product manufacturers and retailers alike.
“Global Pet Expo is an important event because it’s the biggest show in the country,” says Jennifer Cao, vice president of Chino, Calif.-based
ZippyPaws, a leading manufacturer of pet toys, leashes and collars.
According to Cao, the timing of the show has proven particularly valuable to her company, which has been exhibiting at Global Pet Expo since 2014. “Set in the first quarter, we use Global as a platform to introduce our new products for the year, to meet with customers after the busy holiday season and to prepare for the year ahead,” she says.
This year, ZippyPaws is debuting an extension of its popular Zippy Burrows line, along with a new line of ZippyTuff durable TPR dog toys that are designed for tougher chewers.
Rockford, Ill.-based dog chew manufacturer Jones Naturals is another vendor that views Global Pet Expo as an important platform for introducing its latest and greatest products. “Global Pet Expo is a great way to showcase your company and new products,” explains company president Joe Wallington. “Many retailers and distributors are looking for new product lines to support continued growth.”
In addition, says Wallington, the show offers vendors a great opportunity to strengthen established business relationships, and form new ones. “It facilitates a great venue for follow up meetings with existing customers, sales reps, media and other companies in our pet industry space,” he says.
This year at Global Pet Expo, Jones Naturals is launching Jones Select, a new, premium line of limited-ingredient natural treats that include salmon, duck, chicken, beef, cranberry and blueberry, USDA-certified organic turkey, sweet potato, alligator, pheasant and wild boar.
“We expect the new Jones Select line to be a home run for our pet specialty partners,” says Wallington. “Super-premium inclusions, exotic proteins, organic recipes and training treats are rapidly growing, especially in the pet specialty channel. Since Jones Naturals protects the JNC brand for pet specialty, combined with the Jones equity and quality, it should be a great profit contributor for our retailers.”
Also being showcased at the Jones Naturals booth are the company’s full line of Jones Natural Chews and The Country Butcher brands. “We will also highlight our all USA sourcing and manufacturing, which is also a very hot trend with consumers and retailers alike,” Wallington says.
A Great Opportunity for Retailers
Many retailers also get a lot out of attending Global Pet Expo each year. For example, Terry Bibicoff, co-owner of T&R Aquatics in Port Richey, Fla., says that most of her store’s yearly stocking decisions are made at the show, noting that the opportunity to see the newest and most exciting products on the market early in the year at this show is particularly valuable.
Given the focus of her business, it’s no surprise that Bibicoff is always attracted to The Everything Aquatics section of the show floor, where she not only shops
for new items to put on her store shelves but also helps set up and break down some of the display aquariums that can be found here.
This year, Bibicoff has found something new to look forward to during her visit to The Everything Aquatics area of the show. A variety of aquatics-focused seminars will be hosted right on the show floor within the Aquatics Lounge—a great complement to the Global Pet Expo Academy offerings that Bibicoff regularly attends.
“I spend a lot of time at the seminars,” she says, noting that she has found sessions on how to navigate social media as a business owner to be particularly helpful in the past.
Connie Romano, owner of Bark Out Loud Doggie Boutique & Café in Mansfield, Texas, is another retailer who values the Global Pet Academy sessions, but those are not the only learning opportunities that she plans to take advantage of at the show this year. She also expects to attend Thursday’s Pet Industry Breakfast (8:00 a.m. in the Valencia Ballroom), which will feature not only the presentation of the 2018 Retailer Excellence Awards—last year, Bark Out Loud won an award for Marketing Excellence—but also roundtable discussions where independent retailers can have frank discussions about the issues facing their businesses and share ideas with their peers.
Of course, Romano also cherishes the opportunity to talk face-to-face with the many vendors here at the show, as well see the latest and greatest products to hit the market. This year, she is searching the aisles for unique new toys, chews and treats to bring back to her customers, who she says have come to look forward to Global Pet Expo almost as much as she does.
“People will come into my store and say, ‘When are you going to your show? They know I’m going to come back with neat new things,“ says Romano, explaining that the buyer-friendly environment that Global Pet Expo’s organizers create makes it easy to find those products each year and make this the must-attend event on her business calendar.
“It is extremely well-organized and just has a great atmosphere,” she says. “Global really is my favorite trade show—I wouldn’t miss it.”