Pet Age recently spoke with Susan Goldstein, co-owner of Earth Animal in Westport, Connecticut, about what has enabled her and her husband, Dr. Bob Goldstein, to flourish as a retailer for nearly 40 years.
Q Can you tell us about the history of Earth Animal?
A The Earth Animal flagship store opened in 1979. It is believed to be one of the first true health food stores for animals in the country. Its early mission, which still remains today, was to offer a safe alternative to toxic substances used in flea and tick prevention and treatment products, as well as nutritional solutions, foods and supplements for the most common conditions found in dogs and cats.
Q What do you look for in the pet products that you carry in your store?
A The Earth Animal merchandise focus is on natural and organic food, treats and holistic health offering natural flea prevention and condition-specific natural remedies, nutraceuticals and supplements. Our primary buying objective is to source environmentally and socially conscious products made in the USA. The majority of foods come from local and humanely raised farms.
Q How would you describe your relationship with your distributors and consumers?
A Our distributor and retailer relationships mean everything to us, and we know that Earth Animal wouldn’t exist without them. Therefore, our relationships with our distributors are true partnerships that we take very seriously and do our best to support their efforts in a warm, friendly and effective manner that benefits our retailers as well. The Earth Animal product line was born in the Earth Animal store and, as such, we are well aware of and understand firsthand the challenges that small businesses and independent retailers have today. And because of this, our commitment to selling and supporting independent retailers is of extreme importance to us.
Q You create many products that you offer in your shop. Which of your products is most popular with consumers?
A The most popular products sold in our store are Earth Animal No-Hide Chews and Sticks for Dogs, the safe alternative to Rawhide. The second most popular are our Earth Animal Flea and Tick supplements and Daily Health Nuggets for dogs and cats, all formulated by Dr. Bob.
Q What has been the key to your lasting success?
A We believe the key to our lasting success has been the ability to meet the animal’s individual wellness and healing needs with safe, highly effective, nutritional solutions. The energy in our Earth Animal Store has manifested from one of our core values, “Cause No Harm,” and is felt and appreciated by the families who shop our store.
Q Do you host any special events at your store?
A We hold a monthly store event for Little Black Dog Rescue, which rescues black dogs from the South. Black dogs are generally the first to be euthanized and the last to be adopted. We also hold events for the Mitten Project, Back Pack Program and frequently donate a percentage of our sales to sanctuaries that rescue factory farmed animals.