Pet Business’ 2013 Retailer of the Year, Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet was honored for its commitment to community service at the Global Pet Expo Retailer Excellence Awards presentation. We caught up with Wendy Bartz, Chuck & Don’s manager of corporate purchasing, to discuss the how the 24-store pet specialty chain supports its local communities.
Chuck & Don's co-founder Chuck Anderson with CEO Robert Hartzell.
Congratulations on the Excellence in Community Service award at Global Pet Expo. What does the win mean to you and your staff?
We are honored to receive the Excellence in Community Service award. Community involvement is a cornerstone of our business, and we strive to support the communities in which we operate. It’s great to receive this recognition.
How important is community service to the success of pet retailers in general, and Chuck & Don's specifically?
Community service allows businesses to create a support system by building relationships with the community in which it operates. Animals are our passion, and we are thankful to work with many shelters, rescues and animal organizations to promote the welfare of animals and advance the human-animal bond.
What are some of Chuck & Don's noteworthy community service initiatives?
Chuck & Don’s started a summer fundraising event in an effort to help reduce pet overpopulation in Minnesota. Over the past four years, this fundraiser raised $282,100 for spay and neuter assistance through in-store, online and day-of event donations. Recipient organizations were the MN Spay Neuter Project in 2009, and the Minnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program (MN SNAP) in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Those donations were enough to spay or neuter 4,560 pets.
Chuck & Don’s also holds an annual ‘Paw Print’ campaign during the holiday season at its Minnesota and Colorado locations, where shoppers can make $1 paw print donations. Showing its dedication to the community, Chuck & Don’s matches the donations by 20-25 percent and splits the donations evenly amongst several rescues and shelters in the areas in which it operates.
We also partner with vendors, business partners and other retailers to hold an annual golf tournament that has contributed over $10,000 in the last two years as a charity event, benefiting St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital & the R.E.A.D program in Minnesota.
In 2011, Chuck & Don’s founded Grateful & Giving Back where it donates one pound of pet food to local food shelves for every customer that stops in to one of its locations between 7-9 a.m. on Black Friday. If a shopper attends with their pet, Chuck & Don’s donates two pounds of food. No purchase necessary.
What is the key to translating community service efforts into business success?
It’s important to work with organizations and host events that align with your core values.
How long have you been attending Global Pet Expo? How does attending the show benefit your business?
Chuck & Don’s representatives have been attending Global Pet Expo since it started in 2005. We always come back with a myriad of new pet product, food and supply ideas that allow us to better serve our customers and their pet needs. Although our customers always come first, we also believe that our business relationships must be strong in order to continue our growth and success. Global Pet Expo offers that avenue to stay in contact with those business partners, all under one roof, which is key to a successful business and future growth.