Group Editorial Director
No one said being a pet retailer would be an easy job. Rewarding and interesting? Perhaps. But definitely not easy.
We have always known that owning a pet store or chain comes with its own special set of challenges, ranging from simple things like having enough money to make payroll and pay the electric bill to more complex issues such as dealing with local government planning board agencies that may take issue with your outdoor signage or hours of operation.
As we discuss in this month’s cover story, independent and chain pet operators can add one more concern to their lists: the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and its impact on their total business operation. As the story states, the impact of Obamacare is still not certain and will ultimately depend on a number of factors, including the size of the operation and its number of employees and current healthcare policies.
Retailers, already faced with a stalled economy, have little interest in getting involved with something as complex as Obamacare. But government regulations will make it necessary for just about every retail pet operation to take a step back and determine what they need to do and when they need to do it.
The good news is that there is help available for those who need it. The federal and most state governments are publishing data and offering online aid to anyone who asks. The pet industry itself is going to have to step up over the next six months as well. If they have not done so already, the key industry associations need to offer assistance to retailers and, yes, suppliers, that are struggling with the new regulations.
Obamacare is coming. The industry needs to be ready.
Here’s to Your Health
The American Heart Association (AHA) is giving the pet category a lift, perhaps at the very right time.
The AHA released a “scientific statement” in May stating that owning a dog or a cat may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It stated that owning these types of pets was associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects, including increased physical activity, favorable lipid profiles, lower blood pressure and diminished sympathetic responses to stress. Owning a pet also improves autonomic tone and leads to improved survival after an acute coronary syndrome.
That is great news. That little piece of advice is just what the doctor ordered for the retail pet industry.