April 7, 2017

It’s slap-ya-mama good!”

So many unique aspects attracted me to Pet Age last year, and even more have compelled me not to regret my decision to come on board. One aspect in particular made an immediate and lasting impression on me: The wide divergence of people and cultures one encounters in the pet industry.

Last month I attended a networking event organized by Pet Shop Events. Featuring more than two dozen manufacturers, retailers and distributors from the U.S. and Canada, the event was structured in a fast-paced speed-networking format, best described as a business version of speed dating. The result was a high-energy event in which manufacturers connected and created new opportunities with many other members of the industry.

Sitting in on sessions with such manufacturers as Chicken Soup for the Soul, Healthy Hemp Pet Company and Pura Naturals Pet provided me with an insider’s view of their exchange of information regarding their products with buyers that included Ziegler’s Distribution, ELLO Pet Supply and Aloha Natural Pet Supply. Networking wasn’t limited to the hotel suites where the meetings were held, but continued during group meals. That’s where I met Samantha Irwin, a buyer for Hollywood Feed, a pet-supply store with locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. During discussions about our backgrounds, interests and careers, Irwin made the memorable “It’s slap-ya-mama good!” comment while riffing on, of all things, a cupcake ATM.

I’m unaccustomed to this sort of Southern exhortation, yet Irwin’s endearing personality and the conversations, both pet industry-related and otherwise, left her distinctive rallying cry burned permanently into my mind.

While this month’s theme is on the pet industry “going green,” our coverage is diverse, informative and engaging, with content that includes a look at the value of being a multi-platform retailer, a report on products geared toward a dog’s “golden years” and a letter to the industry from Joseph J. Watson, president and CEO of Petland. Read on. I think you’ll agree that this issue of Pet Age is slap-ya-mama good! Enjoy!

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