How Critters & Me Emphasizes Feeding Pets Fresh Foods to Its Customers
The Critters & Me owner Laura Moore answers nutritional and health questions for consumers.
Laura Moore, owner of The Critters & Me in Santa Fe, N.M., is a big proponent of fresh food for pets, and due to her staff's recommendations, raw diets and freeze-dried products are the store's top-selling products.
Pet Product News: Tell us a little about the philosophy behind your store.
Laura Moore: We are totally a health-related store as I am a classical homeopath and bioresonance practitioner. We offer nutritional consultations and carry a wide variety of supplements, including homeopathy. We only sell products from smaller manufacturers who have control over the ingredients they use from beginning to end. Our customers can be sure that all products have been vetted carefully before they hit our shelves. My staff members are very knowledgeable and able to direct people to the best products for their critters. Customer service is of the utmost importance to all of us. Many of our customers have been with us for more than 21 years, and most of my employees have been with me from four to 20 years.
PPN: What are the top-selling products in your store right now?
Moore: We are very strong on recommending at least 50 percent fresher foods, so we are big fans of raw diets from OC Raw Dog and raw foods from Steve’s Real Food, as well as their freeze-dried [products]. We have added the full line of Stella & Chewy’s foods, which are now offering a freeze-dried, raw coated, baked kibble. They manufacture all of their products in house and have reasonable pricing. We also sell cannabidiol (CBD) products that we have researched to be organic, full spectrum and CO2 processed. We carry Reilly’s, Earth Buddy, Evergreen Natural Pet and Andersons CBD products. We are also selling the Evergreen Natural Pet Canna-Equine supplement for horses and a beautiful organic, non-GMO grain for horses called Wild Fed.
PPN: What are your favorite products right now?
Moore: The above products, which are our best selling, are also my favorites as they are the products that we are recommending. I have put an emphasis on my horse products such as the Wild Fed feed, Evergreen Natural Pet’s Canna-Equine, Redmond salt blocks, and Pharm-Aloe and Equine Science Solutions supplements. I feel that, in 22 years, I have helped change the health of cats and dogs, and I have made it more of a mission to do the same for horses.
PPN: What industry trends have you been keeping your eye on most closely?
Moore: We were one of the very first to carry only healthful dog and cat foods, getting away from wheat, corn, soy and byproducts as well as bad preservatives. We are now emphasizing raw and freeze-dried products as well as adding SquarePet food, which has an egg protein and no-meat kibble, as I feel egg is a good protein, as well as their kibble that has the lowest carbohydrate count of any kibble out there, 14 percent. They have also developed a healthful alternative to prescription diets with hydrolyzed proteins for those dogs who need it.
PPN: What business challenge are you currently in the process of tackling?
Moore: Our biggest issue in the past year is online companies competing in this market. We continue to try to encourage customers to buy local and let them know they will get the best service and knowledge from the independent pet food retailer.
PPN: What business goal are you hoping to achieve in 2020?
Moore: My goal, as it has been for almost 22 years, is to continue to educate pet owners on how to best take care of the pets that take care of them.
PPN: What is your best tip for connecting with customers?
Moore: Nothing is better than having a well-treated, educated staff who is invested in your business. My staff is like family and, being treated well, my employees want to spend their days helping our customers.
Get an inside look at Critters & Me in our gallery below.