Named the Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer (more than 10 stores) at Global Pet Expo’s 2013 Retailer Excellence Awards, Kriser’s has grown from a single Chicago pet store to a strong 17-store retail chain with locations in Chicago, southern California and Denver. We caught up with Kriser's CEO and founder, Brad Kriser (pictured with his dog, Dr. Woo), to discuss his business’ recent honor and the keys to its success.
Congratulations on the Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer Award at Global Pet Expo. What does the win mean to you and your staff?
We were thrilled to receive this recognition and the entire Kriser’s family deserves it! The award validates all of our efforts to focus on providing an excellent educational experience for our customers and their pets. In turn, our growth and revenue follow, which enables us to open more stores and help more pet owners keep their pets healthy and happy.
To what do you attribute the success of Kriser’s?
Kriser’s has always hired passionate pet lovers to be part of the Kriser’s family. When you have a staff that is dedicated to animal wellness, educating others comes naturally. They also understand the need for pet owners to be educated on the needs of their animals and what all-natural products support a healthy lifestyle. With ongoing training to ensure they’re on the top of their game, the Kriser’s staff is what keeps our customers coming back for more.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced over the past few years, and how have you overcome that challenge?
As Kriser’s continually grows, we will be appearing in brand new markets outside of our current ones: Chicago, Denver and southern California. When we enter a new market, our brand awareness is low, so our team participates in several community service-oriented events to get our name out in the community. We also stay focused on the customer experience because we have found that word-of-mouth marketing is our best tool and helps us grow a loyal clientele.
Please describe your approach to growing your retail brand into a successful chain. What are your expectations/goals moving forward?
Our tag line "For Your Pet's All-Natural Life" speaks to the quality products that we carry. Our brand, though, is just as much about the all-natural products as the education, experience and community that we strive to create. As we continue to grow, our customers should expect—and deserve—the same great experience and education that they received at our first store in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago in 2006. In order to do this, we need to make sure that we have adequate systems and training programs for new employees.
What is your favorite part about being in the pet industry?
I have had pets in my family since the day I was born. My first dog was actually born one week after I was! Growing up with animals, I have very fond memories of every single one of them. We made animals such a huge part of our family, so I understand the vital importance they play in our lives. It’s my goal to wake up every day and provide pet parents the tools they need to keep their pets happy and healthy, so they can spend more time with their loved ones. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?