As I was putting the final touches on this month's cover story about the Top 25 Pet Retailers, I came across this article from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that speaks to a core element of their success.
The WSJ piece focuses on how one enterprising employee of toy maker Razor USA took a discarded product idea and turned it into a winning toy for the company during this past holiday season. At the end of the article, there is this great quote from Carlton Calvin, founder of Razor USA: "You have to trust the people in your company who have passion."
The story served as a great case study on how a passionate and driven staff can be one of a marketer's most valuable resources—a lesson that is well known to most (if not all) of the pet chains on the Top 25 list. In many of my conversations with retailers on the list, a big emphasis is placed on the importance of trusting and empowering staff, from top to bottom. Time and again, I am told how this approach not only fosters happy and productive employees, but more importantly, it creates the right environment for delivering the high level of customer service that is an essential competitive strength of pet specialty stores.