Behind the Scenes: Cagey Company
Advantek, an animal containment company for pets and backyard farm animals, got its start in 2004 in the Los Angeles area as a hand tool company.
After 30 years in importing and sourcing, Joe Pomerantz, Advantek’s president, struck out, and Advantek was born.
“A previous relationship with a buyer gave us the opportunity to quote some catch-and-release traps, which in turn grew to be the largest part of our business,” said C.J. Pomerantz, vice president of marketing for Advantek. “The growth of that line led us to look at animal containment as a whole, but especially in the pet industry.
“We’ve seen nothing but growth in the pet industry, and, in fact, in 2011 stopped all development of our tool business to focus specifically on pet,” he said.
The company has since grown to offer about 120 animal containment products, including multiple size offerings of designs and accessories for products.
Specifically, the Advantek product line includes kennels and dog houses; rabbit hutches, cages, feeders and water bottles; chicken hutches; aviaries; pasture forks; saddle racks; catch-and-release traps and more.
“Our main goal is to provide pet owners with a way to more fully include their animals in their lives by moving containment from the side yard to the patio and from the garage to the living room,” C.J. said.
Pet Product News: Do any of your products hold patents?
C.J. Pomerantz: We look at all of our products at an early point in the development process and ask, “Is this patentable? Is this a better solution?” The answer to those questions is a big part of making the decision whether or not to take a product to the next stage of development.
PPN: How do you explain the growth in your product line since you’ve been in business?
CJP: We’ve been fortunate to grow like we have thanks to a few things, most notably that we’ve been quick to respond to the growing number of pet owners who want to bring their animals more fully into their lives by providing attractive containment solutions that don’t need to be relegated to side yards and garages.
PPN: Can people buy direct, or do they have to go through a retailer that carries your products?
Advantek president Joe Pomerantz stands by his company’s newest Gone Green Chicken product, The Tractor House in the Nantucket color scheme.
CJP: We don’t sell anything direct. We work with a few nationwide retailers, several regional retailers and are constantly working to grow our network of local dealers. In addition, most of our products are available through several of the major e-commerce websites.
PPN: Advantek bridges the pet owner and hobby farm (rabbits, chickens) contingents. How did one lead to the other?
CJP: Both of those areas of our business grew together. They grew out of the farm and ranch portion of our business that started with catch-and-release traps. It also helped that we always viewed our chicken and rabbit products as part of our broader line of pet products rather than as separate areas of the business. Because of this, we’ve helped a lot of our customers who may not have considered the backyard chicken market to grow that part of their business.
PPN: Is everything marketed under the Advantek name, or do you have your own proprietary brands as well as carry other brands?
CJP: Advantek is our overarching brand. We do have a couple of sub brands that have been very successful, specifically The Pet Gazebo and Gone Green, which is our line of eco-friendly wooden rabbit, chicken and dog homes.
PPN: Explain the humane trap line. How did it come about?
CJP: Humane trapping is the bread and butter of our business. This was our entry into the rest of the animal containment industry. We’re one of the largest suppliers of catch-and-release traps in the world.
PPN: Describe Advantek’s business operations.
After a long day at the 2015 Global Pet Expo, members of the Advantek and All Points Marketing teams enjoy a well-deserved dinner together.
CJP: Nearly all aspects of our business are conducted from the greater Los Angeles area. Our main office and domestic warehouse are both located in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles. We have sales staff located all over the country, including the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and up and down the West Coast. Our products are manufactured overseas and imported through the Port of Los Angeles.
PPN: Explain the Advantek product development process.
CJP: It varies from product to product, but generally, once we determine that a product merits further exploration beyond “What if we tried this?” we will sketch out the idea ourselves, then work with our engineer to develop a prototype. At that point, we will run testing on the product until we are satisfied that we know we’ve worked out all the bugs. We will then run a second sample, apply for a patent and begin to develop all of the marketing collateral for the product.
Sometimes the whole process can take only a couple months; other times, it can take more than a year, but it ensures that we only bring to market products that we have full faith in.
PPN: Did the recent port slowdown affect your business? Will you be changing anything as a result?
CJP: We’re fortunate that we have a lot of warehouse space and were able to weather the worst parts of the slowdown without too much pain, although there were times where the team thought, “Can’t we just drive down and get it ourselves? We’re getting uncomfortably low on inventory!” The main change that we’ve made is to improve our forecasting so that we can weather these slowdowns with a little less stress.
PPN: Do you have your own sales force, or do you use third-party reps?
CJP: All Points Marketing is our sales force. Their wealth of knowledge and experience in the pet industry is an invaluable contribution to our team.
PPN: Any new products coming for SuperZoo?
CJP: We’re really excited about the new chicken products we’re bringing out at SuperZoo. We have new colors, new designs and some exciting new features that will make life a lot easier for the backyard chicken farmer.
PPN: What are Advantek’s long-term plans?
CJP: Our current goal is to grow out our network of distributors and dealers, establishing Advantek as the go-to brand for pet containment solutions.
Getting there is going to require us to grow and do some things in new and different ways, including a more holistic approach to our marketing.
We’re excited for the challenges ahead and come to the office every morning motivated to help people bring their pets more fully into their lives.
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Pet Product News.