The World Pet Association (WPA), the business association that supports the needs of pet retailers and produces SuperZoo, is pleased to announce new Road Crew team members: Eric Moore and Maryellen Mahoney. Moore and Mahoney will join Shelly Armstrong to support the success of pet retailers. The Road Crew retail representatives visit independent pet retailers across the United States in person to share business best practices, provide insights into industry trends, listen to the needs of retailers and gather industry feedback.
The Road Crew initiative allows WPA to gain valuable insight from the frontline of pet retail. This interaction enables retailers to paint an unfiltered picture of the industry. Feedback from the road is reported back to a committee to help WPA tailor educational programming and other offerings at trade shows and conferences, advocacy efforts at the legislative level and donations to programs and non-profits, to best serve the pet industry.
“As the landscape of retail evolves, WPA is committed to supporting pet retailers as they look for creative ways to grow their businesses,” said Doug Poindexter, WPA president. “Our goal is to offer support, education, and networking. The Road Crew are intended to be our ‘feet on the ground’ sharing ideas and best practices across the industry, effectively expanding a retailer’s network. Thank you to Shelly for her continued commitment and service and welcome Eric and Maryellen to the crew.”
Meet the three dedicated members of the WPA Road Crew:
Moore has worked in the pet industry for 14 years, but he essentially grew up in the industry. When he was young, he would ride along with his dad, an industry sales representative, and was fascinated by the rows and rows of aquariums full of colorful fish and unique creatures at the aquarium stores. Today, with seven years’ retail experience of his own and seven years’ experience as a sales representative for a pet supply and aquarium manufacturers, he has joined the WPA Road Crew. Eric covers the Western U.S. with a focus on California.
“I love my job because I really feel like I’m truly able to give back to the industry that I grew up in. I get to work with pet retailers across the country, hear about their struggles and successes and am a conduit to sharing best practices so retailers can learn from each other,” he said. “I have a great sense of pride in the work that WPA’s Good Works and Initiatives do to support non-profits and organizations that promote the growth of the pet industry.”
Mahoney comes to WPA in 2017 with nearly 20 years of pet industry experience under her belt. Prior to joining the Road Crew, she was in publishing covering the farm/feed/pet categories. Maryellen has been around animals all of her life, having joined 4-H at 8 years old. Mahoney’s Road Crew travels take her to specialty retailers in the Mid-West, South and Northeast.
“Whether I am visiting a retail shop or welcoming retailers to SuperZoo, I find the passion and commitment in the pet industry to be like no other—full of foresight with an eye on making continued improvements in their businesses,” she said. “I am grateful to be part of the WPA Road Crew team. I find personal satisfaction in being an integral part of WPA’s efforts to make a difference in the industry.”
Armstrong, veteran Road Crew member, has always been an animal lover, having never lived in a household without some kind of critter. Shelly has enjoyed 23 years in the pet industry prior to joining the Road Crew. She visits pet retailers from northern Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, east of the Rocky Mountains, through the Midwest and anywhere else she’s needed to maintain the road crew presence and WPA’s efforts to support the needs of the industry’s pet retailers.
“I have a deep respect for the WPA, as they have always been the champion for independent pet retailers,” Armstrong said. “The retail environment is changing quickly and the ability to spend time in their stores exchanging ideas and developing community is essential to their success and an important part of WPA’s mission, and one aspect of the work that I believe is truly making a difference.”
WPA’s investment to support retailers is rooted in its 67-year history. Since 1950, WPA has been the business association supporting pet retailers grow their business, seek education, exchange ideas, discover new products and create healthier, happier pets and a healthier, more productive pet industry. The Road Crew is one more initiative that demonstrates WPA’s commitment to these goals.