People love to spoil their furry family members. Between 2008 and 2010, during the height of the Great Recession, pet spending continued to increase, as consumers treated their dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles and other pets to $48.35 billion in food, treats, vet care and other products. A decade later, that number has skyrocketed, as it is estimated that people spent close to $70 billion on their pets in 2017, according to the most recent statistics from the American Pet Products Association. About 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet, according to the association’s most recent survey, up from 56 percent in 1988, when the survey was introduced.
Pet departments can be a natural fit in independent garden centers, which have been pet friendly long before restaurants welcomed dogs on patios. Thirteen percent of garden centers that took Garden Center’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey indicated that they have pet departments — and many have reported steady, reliable sales from this segment.
A decade ago, Alsip Home & Nursery went beyond the pet products they already sold and started offering a service — pet grooming. We spoke with CEO Richard Christakes and Sandy Richwalski, pet department manager and buyer, about what goes into this ancillary offering, called “Groomingdales Pet Salon.” They share the most interesting requests, cautionary tales and what garden center owners who are interested in this service should know before diving in.