As someone who had yet to be involved on the back end of the pet industry (that is, past the line of consumerism), I had little idea what to expect when I began at Pet Age. Compound that with the fact that I was a recent college graduate and you begin to understand that I was a blank slate on my first day. But we all have to start somewhere, right?
Looking back, I can guarantee that, had someone asked me to take a guess, I wouldn’t have been able to predict what I’ve already experienced in my almost full year with Pet Age. A few things stick out in my mind, but I think the word “vibrant” sums it all up—as in, this community is vibrant (imagine the word jumping out at you).
There is such a breadth of experience that is somehow filled with variety but also connected by similarities. Everyone is passionate in a way that I think is unique to the pet market. Many first entered the industry because they experienced a need in their own lives to serve their real-life beloved pets. They started experimenting in their kitchens, garages and basements. Before long, some of the most innovative and my favorite products were born.
On the other hand, many independent retailers have been in business for generations, and can trace the founding of their stores to their grandparents, or even further back. These businesses are often landmarks of their communities. Growing up, my neighbor was the manager of the local pet store (Colonial House of Pets in Bayonne, New Jersey). I still remember going into the store quite frequently to interact with the animals and put a quarter in their gumball machine for a chance to win a goldfish!
Most people have stories similar to mine. Pets occupy such a special place in human lives and vice versa; the bond between people and pets is a friendship unmatched. Our industry caters to living, breathing members of consumers’ families—but I doubt you need me to remind you of that.
And this is why I am so proud to be a part of the Pet Age team. I am thankful for this opportunity and for the valuable experiences it has given me. I look forward to the future and the unpredictability that I’m sure will come with it.