What attracted Azalea Capital to invest in Ark Naturals in November?
First and foremost, the reputation of Ark Naturals in the industry is stellar. The product offerings and formulations are superior in quality and clearly make a significant difference in the lives of pets. The partnership with Azalea Capital will provide the resources for us to introduce the brand to more consumers and develop a robust product development and innovation plan to continue bringing highly effective health and wellness products to market.
What do you bring to Ark Naturals?
I think the role of any good president/CEO is to provide a vision and path to the ultimate goal, and for us that is being the preeminent brand of health and wellness products available on the market. I have worked in the CPG industry for my entire career on big brands, small brands and pioneering brands with a measure of success, so I have seen a lot. Building consumer awareness and a real community for Ark Naturals will be a top priority so more pets can have healthier and more fulfilling lives. Additionally, pet parents are emotionally connected to their pets and love to talk about their little ones, and we will engage personally with them to find out what needs are unmet, and work hard to develop products and formulas to address those needs.
Which of Ark Naturals’ products excites you the most?
I am really excited about our senior pet line of products called Gray Muzzle. When pets get older, their bodies become less efficient in absorbing nutrients, just like humans. Gray Muzzle offers a solution for heart health, cognitive function, joint-related pain, skin and coat issues and dental care. All Gray Muzzle products are formulated and designed specifically for the senior pet population, and they provide a natural health and wellness remedy for a spirited and fulfilling life for pets.
How does Ark Naturals plan to support and service independent pet stores?
The independent channel is the backbone of our business. We have met with a number of our dealers/retailers and outlined our plans for growth. Our responsibility is to ensure they remain competitive in the marketplace with Ark Naturals products and benefit from the brand building plans we have going forward. First, we are committing significant resources in the sales and marketing disciplines. As we speak we are building out our virtual sales team and our field sales team. These teams will work closely with independent stores on all important sampling programs and product knowledge assistance and workshops.
What is it like having three grand-dogs?
They are a real joy in my life! Ruby Lou (black Lab) is the oldest, then Lyla Mae (red goldendoodle), and then Penny Lane (chocolate Lab) is the baby! All three of them have such different personalities, but they are all very sweet and good dogs. They come over to Papa’s house to swim in the pool and play in the yard. I am fortunate that my children all live close, and we get to see each other very often. One thing I learned quite quickly is to make any breakfast/lunch/dinner reservations outside because usually at least one of them is in attendance! Tampa is such a pet-friendly city so it is really terrific.