Pet Age recently spoke with Brad Gruber, president and COO of Health Extension, who discussed the company’s current strategies that help it remain successful in today’s competitive market.
Q: What is the history of your company, and how has it played a role in Health Extension’s relationship with independent retailers?
A: Our roots began with independent retail stores opened by our family in the 1960s. As the years went on, we saw the need for a trusted holistic brand that an independent store, like ours, could confidently promote to their customers. With that niche in mind, we started Health Extension in our basement. As the third generation, I have the privilege of furthering our business and mission. Our family is dedicated to providing independent pet store owners with food they can be proud to call their own. By committing to the finest holistic ingredients at the best possible price, we give pets the nutrition they need and retailers the competitive advantage they need to thrive.
Q: What are the benefits of a family-run company?
A: We share the same vision and values that drive us every day in our cultural pursuit of excellence. As business partners, we work together in our own individual areas of responsibility, giving the company stability and our employees a true sense of pride. Owning 100 percent of our business without a board of directors or investment fund to scrutinize bottom line results enables us to deliver pet parents the best possible products available anywhere.
Q: Why is Health Extension committed to its Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) policy?
A: Our culture continues to dictate who we are in providing products and support to our valued independent pet specialty retailers. Our MAP policy has been in place for over a year to ensure that our retail partners can continue to effectively and profitably sell our products and thrive in today’s competitive and changing environment. It is our belief that creating a level playing field where pricing does not erode brand equity works to ensure our business partners will stay healthy. In turn, they will perpetuate our industry which is so vital to our well-being and longevity.
Q: Can you tell us how your company slogan “All the Ingredients for a Healthy Life” fits into the Health Extension philosophy?
A: We have always believed that if you take a holistic approach to life by following a nutritionally balanced diet, you could live a long and healthy life. Then one day, we thought since we’ve adopted this approach to eating for ourselves, why wouldn’t we follow the same approach in feeding our pets? If we treated their bodies the same way we treated ours, they would live a long, healthy life as well.
Q: Which of your 100 SKUs are your top performers?
A: One of the most attractive benefits of our line is that we’re not too SKU intensive for a retailer. We offer a full range of products including dog and cat foods, treats, supplements and more. Our new Grain Free line has been the fastest growing segment, and we expect that trend to continue. This year, we made a strong leap into the super-premium canned cat food market with the launch of six new grain free recipes. The response to this and all of our new product launches continue to exceed our expectations. Our strategy is to continually introduce novel and cutting edge products across our entire line.
Q: What inspired you to become a member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition?
A: Sustainability is a rapidly evolving expectation of consumers who want the best for themselves and their pets. As a member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, we are committed to implementing sustainable business practices that minimize our impact on the environment and the communities where we do business. We believe sustainability to be a great component of any successful business strategy.