Americans spent a whopping $63 Billion on pet care last year, most of it at one of the big box specialty stores. In just one year the number of these top pet retailers, think PetSmart, Petco and Pet Value, grew by 500 units, an increase of 10% according to Pet Business Magazine.
These stores offer a mix of products and services for dogs and cats, along with a variety of exotic animals. However, no one will shop for their precious fur (or fin, feather or scale) baby if pet store cleaning is lax. Keeping on top of soils, smells and spills will encourage pet parents to stay longer and spend more.
Last year PetSmart opened a new concept store called PetSmart Pet Spa. This smaller footprint shop features upscale grooming services, self-service dog wash and a coffee bar for caffeine-deprived pet parents. While still a one-off concept store, other big box retailers invite dogs in by carving out space for grooming, specialty products and even veterinary care. They also offer self-serve dry food stations and pet-themed gift areas. Maintaining these spaces is crucial to both the health of visiting animals and profit margins. Instruct staff to vacuum up pet hair and kibble crumbs as needed and attend to "accidents" immediately. Floors should be washed nightly. Avoid using a mop as they don't fully remove soils or dangerous pathogens.
Not nearly as profitable as dog and cat supplies, aquatics are still important to big box pet store sales. Business Wire points to three trends driving the market: new technology that simplifies tank maintenance, aquascaping which creates elaborate underwater vignettes and innovative décor that inspires hobbyists. Obviously, staff will scrupulously maintain tanks to keep livestock healthy, but make sure they pay attention to surrounding areas as well. Shelving that holds food, décor and tanks should be dusted regularly. The outside of the aquarium needs to be smear and fingerprint free. A squeegee system can remove soils with just water so fish are not exposed to potentially harmful chemicals. Additionally, a wet vacuum can help clean up any spills immediately to prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
For the Birds
Birds are dirty. In fact, according to Pet Business they are the messiest pet sold in in the shop. "When keeping birds, it is not only the cages but also a wide area around the cages that needs to be cleaned every day," writes parrot biologist and pet retailor, Robyn Bright. That's because parrots and other seed eaters fling food, husks and lightweight bedding out of their cages creating an off-putting mess. Bright suggests vacuuming the area two to three times a day to keep floors clean and customers interested.
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Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.