Excellence on Display
By Mark Kalaygian
Published: February 22, 2013
Global Pet Expo and Pet Business honored outstanding pet retailers in a variety of categories at Thursday’s Retail Excellence Awards presentation.



West Lebanon Feed & Supply, Paws Natural Pet Emporium and Kriser’s took the top honors at the second-annual Retailer Excellence Awards presentation, sponsored by Wholesalepet.com. The awards ceremony was part of Thursday’s Industry Breakfast and was hosted by Global Pet Expo and Pet Business. The program recognized outstanding independent pet specialty retailers in a variety of categories, including:

Best Overall Single-Store Retailer
Sponsored by Coastal Pet Products
West Lebanon Feed & Supply
West Lebanon, N.H.

Best Overall Multi-Unit (less than 10 stores)
Sponsored by Coastal Pet Products
Paws Natural Pet Emporium
Richland, Wash.

 

Best Overall Multi-Unit (more than 10 stores)
Sponsored by ProLabs
Kriser’s
Ill., Calif. & Colo.

Best Live-Animal Retailer
Sponsored by ProLabs
Absolutely Fish
West Clifton, N.J.

Merchandising Excellence
Sponsored by Angels’ Eyes
Treats Unleashed
Chesterfield, Mo.

Multi-Service Excellence
Sponsored by Richell USA Inc.
Healthy Spot
Santa Monica, Calif.

Excellence in Store Design
Sponsored by Richell USA Inc.
Royal Pets Market & Resort 
Carrollwood, Fla.

Marketing Excellence
Sponsored by Cardinal Pet Care
TailsSpin
Savannah, Ga.

Excellence in Customer Service Excellence
Sponsored by Cardinal Pet Care
Chew on this Dog Barkery - Frankfort, Ill.

Excellence in Community Service
Sponsored by  Wholesalepet.com
Chuck & Don’s - Minn. & Colo.

At the awards presentation, Curt and Sharon Jacques, owners of West Lebanon, N.H.-based West Lebanon Feed & Supply could not be happier about being honored as this year’s Best Overall Single-Store Retailer. Last year, they won the community service award. The couple was quick to credit their success to all of the support they have gotten from other industry members. “It really is a tribute to the industry,” says Curt. “We couldn’t have accomplished the growth we’ve had without all of the support that we get from our vendors. They share our passion for pets, and we are very appreciative. It’s a great business to be in.”

Doyle and Dorothy Hunter, owners of Richland, Wash.-based Paws Natural Pet Emporium, this year’s Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer with less than 10 stores, were also effusive in their praise for the role that suppliers have played in the growth of their business from one to two stores last year.  “This is really a validation of all of the hard work we’ve put in over the past year, and our distributors have been extremely supportive throughout,” says Dorothy. 

Of course, says Doyle, the couple also could not have done it without their loyal customer base. “For years, our customers were asking us when we were going to open a new location in Kennewick [Wash.],” he says, noting that Paws Natural Pet Emporium customers are among the most passionate pet owners out there. Both Doyle and Dorothy also note that their store manager, Beverly Lefevre, has played a key role in their business’ growth.

Jusak Yang Bernhard and Jeffrey Manley, owners of TailsSpin in Savannah, Ga., the winner of this year’s Marketing Excellence award were humbled by the accolade. “It’s an amazing honor to be recognized by our peers in the industry,” says Bernhard, who also credited a close working relationship with vendors for his store’s award-worthy marketing strategy.

Manley also points to TailsSpin’s ability to forge relationships—this time, with the local community of pet owners—as a driver of the company’s success in marketing. “For us, marketing is more than just running television and print ads,” he notes. “It’s about being involved with the community and delivering what we promise.”

TailsSpin delivers on it promise to the community by raising funds for local pet rescues and other non-profit organizations, as well as by working closely with the local government on pet-related programs, such as the creation of dog parks. “We’re not afraid to be generous,” says Manley.

Pet Business and the organizers of Global Pet Expo are already preparing for the third-annual edition of the Retailer Excellence Awards, which will be held at next year’s Global Pet Expo (March 12-14, 2014) in Orlando. The nomination process expected to open within the next few months. For more information about the awards, visit petbusiness.com or globalpetexpo.org.