After sitting down with the duo that runs Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet—Pet Business’ 2013 Retailer of the Year—I can see why it is one of the fastest growing pet specialty retail chains in the country.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting Minnesota, where I met with Chuck & Don’s owners Chuck Anderson and Bob Hartzell, and toured several of their stores. It was quite an insightful trip.
I came away impressed with the clean, attractive shopping environment that the chain offers its customers. It is nothing short of amazing how many SKUs they fit into their typical 3,000-square-foot store (somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000) while still maintaining tidy aisles and clear sightlines. In addition, for a chain that projects a decidedly mom-and-pop feel, they are quite savvy in using inventory monitoring technology and techniques to make sure that every square foot of selling space is providing the maximum return.
But what was probably most impressive about the Chuck & Don’s chain, and its owners, is their genuine passion for pets and pet owners. Of course, this came as no surprise to me—after all, they did win the Retailer Excellence Award for Customer Service at this year’s Global Pet Expo, and their obvious commitment to customer and community service was a big reason why we chose them as our 2013 Retailer of the Year. However, it is one thing to talk to a retailer about their approach to being a good neighbor and seeing it in action in their stores.
Keep an eye out for Pet Business’ July cover story, which will delve into the success that Chuck & Don’s has enjoyed over its 23-year history, as well as what has driven that success,including that commitment to service.