Woof! Green Pet Stores Are Popping Up
When it comes to Fido and Fluffy, new research shows people are picking natural. Concern over the health effects of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and preservatives and the 2007 pet food recalls helped fuel the boom in organic and natural pet food sales.
According to a 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, that’s more than 71.4 million homes. And with more people making eco-friendly shopping a priority for their pet, that’s a lot of business.
Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market in Columbia is one of many natural pet stores popping up across the nation. Kyle Schlosser and his wife Jessica opened Lizzi & Rocco’s in 2009. The store focuses on environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. Many stores, like Lizzi & Rocco’s, stress the importance of educating pet owners to make better, safer choices for their animal and the environment.
“If [customers] aren’t knowledgeable when they come in the store, they are when they leave,” Schlosser said.
That’s because Schlosser explains the importance of proper nutrition and pet-friendly products to his customers. Schlosser says he gives the “nutrition talk” about four times every day.
“Often times people come in looking for one thing and we end up having a long conversation about pet nutrition,” Schlosser said.
It’s not just natural food that draws customers to natural pet stores. Most natural pet stores carry toys and bedding made from organic cotton, eco-friendly tick repellent and cleaning supplies and even gourmet dog treats. Schlosser says a majority of the products they sell come from companies that are concerned with overall sustainability. The companies are using recycled materials to make the product and the packaging.
“A majority of people who shop here are animal lovers,” Schlosser said.
At a time when most people are cutting back, some predict pets will continue to get the royal treatment. According to market-research from Packaged Facts, U.S. retail sales of natural pet products are expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2012.