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What to Ask When Opening a New Pet Supply Store

Thinking about opening your own pet supply store? Get a list of some questions you should ask before starting.

Pet-supply stores have ample customers. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, as of 2006, the U.S. had around 72 million dogs as pets and about 82 million cats as pets. Even better, pet owners don’t mind spending big bucks on items for their pets. Statistics gathered by the American Pet Products Association indicate that pet owners will spend an estimated $52.87 billion in 2012. While these trends look promising, there are a few questions potential pet-supply store owners should ask before opening up for business.

What Needs Are Not Yet Met?

Look at current stores in the area where you plan to locate your pet-supply store. Are there any needs that are not met. For example, a big chain retailer may have the best prices on dog toys and pet food, but probably doesn’t offer designer collars or organic and raw foods.

Where Will I Locate My Store?

Location can make or break your new business. Is there an area that gets a lot of foot traffic? Is it a location where possible pet owners, such as families, will pass by? Ask yourself if the space is large enough for the items you want to carry, if the rent is affordable and if there is room to expand as your business grows.

Where Will I Get My Products?

Without suppliers, your store won’t have items to sale. Line up places to get your products several months before opening for business. This should include wholesale sources as well as local craftspeople who make specialty items or custom creations that your customers won’t be able to get anywhere else. Ask local craftsman if they will work on consignment where you pay them when you sell the item and take a commission on the sale.

How Can I Stand Out From the Crowd?

Think about items you can offer, such as bakery treats. Doing a market survey in your area can allow you to ask local pet owners what their needs are and make some decisions about which needs you might be able to meet. Industry Trend Reports, such as the 2011 report by the American Pet Products Association, can give you a heads up on emerging products, such as the rising popularity of organic pet foods.

How Will I Advertise My Business?

Pay close attention to the response of potential customers during your market survey and use this information to market to those people. Try to step into the shoes of the customer and decide what types of advertising would make you want to visit the store and buy something. Would a coupon offering a discount entice you into the store? Poll your customers to find out if a special event would be something they would be interested in. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the norm and come up with unique promotions that might capture media interest.

Pet-supply products can range from specialty foods to designer collars.


Market research statistics – U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook

Industry Statistics & Trends


Lori Soard has worked online designing websites, writing, editing and promoting clients since 1997. Through Promo Warriors, she's consulted with over 100 clients to help them figure out what online presence works best for them. In addition to helping people learn how to start their own businesses, she writes feel-good books about the way love and the world should be.