Pet Age met up with Gordon Kriebel, owner of Perk Valley Pet Eatery in Trappe, Pennsylvania, to learn how pet nutrition and customer relationships have enabled him to remain successful within his community.
Q: When did you first open Perk Valley Pet Eatery, and what inspired you to do so?
A: We opened our store, originally called Trappe Feed & Pet Supply, in October 2003. It was our second location, with Lansdale Feed & Pet Supply being our first location. The name was changed back in 2009, upon realizing the nature of our business had significantly evolved away from feed and had become much more focused on dog and cat nutrition.
Q: With your store including the term “eatery,” it’s no surprise that your store offers a wide variety of food. What is important to you regarding pet food?
A: Food is probably the most important pet owner decision, and the one that most greatly impacts quality of life. We have come to realize that the pet food industry in general is loosely regulated, and it is common practice to manufacture pet food using the remnants of other manufacturing processes. This trend of highly processed food, however, is a major contributor to the most prevalent health problems in pets right now. Our pets were nevercreated to eat such a high level of food fragments and sugars. So, food is the focus of what we do—delivering higher quality options to our clients with care for their pet’s overall health.
Q: Can you tell us what category has been growing in popularity with your customers?
A: We have noticed that cats are growing in popularity, and that there is an increased level of concern for healthy food for felines. In particular, frozen raw and freeze dried raw cat foods have been growing the fastest. As a result, we have just completed a reset of our cat section in-store, with the focal point being a double door glass front freezer featuring all brands of frozen raw cat foods.
Q: You offer your customers several products that are manufactured locally. Can you tell us about some of them?
A: We have always had an eye for locally or regionally made pet products. Our best-selling local dog food brand is Annamaet, which has its corporate offices nearby in Telford, Pennsylvania. Some other locally made items are Brewscuits Dog Treats, K.E. Rush Smoked Treats and Bones, Wild Meadow Farms Dog Treats and Earth Animal Pet Treats, which is manufactured in Lancaster County.
Q: What are the different ways that you strengthen your relationship with your customers?
A: We have a commitment to spending time to help our customers through any and all problems they may encounter— outside the realm of veterinary procedures and medications. We look at the whole animal and engage clients in a respectful way, listening first and asking questions that make them talk about what is going on. We are also committed to delivering a higher level of engagement with our clients, providing many fun events to involve pet owners and their pets. An annual favorite is our “Dogs Night Out at the Park.” We also operate an in-store tasting bar, which is hugely popular and engaging as well.