ESPECIALLY FOR PETS IS THE PROUD RECIPIENT OF PET PRODUCT NEWS' 2002 'RETAILER OF THE YEAR' AWARD IN 'BEST DRY GOODS' CATEGORY
For a dry-goods only store that doesn't sell animals, Especially for Pets, with four locations in Massachusetts, finds homes for a lot of pets.
In 2001, its staff placed 245 cats in cooperation with Kitty Angels cat shelter and MSPCA of Methuen and Boston. Cat orphanages are in three of their four stores, and they host regular in-house dog adoption days with local humane societies and rescue groups.
"Because we encourage people to adopt a pet, we offer a 10 percent discount on all purchases made at our store for one month," says Amy Lord, director of advertising and manager of the Acton store. "The customers can stock up on all the necessities when they bring home their new pet."
Work with charitable organizations isn't the stores' only community involvement.
They found they could raise substantial funds clipping nails.
"For the past few years, Especially for Pets has accepted donations in exchange for nail clipping," Lord says. "We gave this money to local animal charities determined by each store.
"But in 2001, we decided to pool our efforts and make one large donation at the end of each quarter," she says.
Their fund-raising campaign earned $12,000. Recipients include Phinney's Friends, an organization that helps people living with HIV/AIDS keep their pets;
Massachusetts Vest-a-Dog, a non-profit group that raises money to buy protective vests for police dogs; National Education for Assistance Dogs, an organization that provides specially trained dogs to help disabled people lead more independent lives; and Massachusetts Canine Response Team, an organization that trains search-and-rescue dogs to respond to emergency events.
And Especially for Pets' generosity doesn't stop there.
For pet owners, the retailer offers monthly classes and seminars. It also offers extensive training and obedience classes, hosts Canine Good Citizen Tests and offers pet photography.
"We are dedicated to promoting responsible pet care, and our stores serve as a venue for teaching and educating the public," Lord says. "We live this philosophy every day."
A new Web site serves as an information source for their customers and a tool to communicate store activities, events and product promotions.
"Our site offers membership in our exclusive e-mail club, which keeps subscribers abreast of upcoming promotions and special discounts," Lord explains. "We even send e-mail birthday cards to the pets registered with us."
That attention to detail illustrates their dedication to their customers.
"We pride ourselves on the service we provide," Lord says.
What is their secret?
"We have built a business that is profitable, but also committed and dedicated to our employees, our customers and the industry we serve," Lord says.
"This respect and esprit de corps for our fellow employees is truly unique and drives the business.
"Without employees and customers, there would be no business."
- Wendy Bedwell-Wilson