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WPA Road Crew Visits U.S. Pet Retailers for Education, Advocacy

Could a surprise visit from the World Pet Association soon be in your future?


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The World Pet Association (WPA) has been sending its Road Crew to visit independent pet retailers across the U.S. to spur grassroots efforts in education and advocacy.

The crew—which consists of Gwen Powell, WPA director of community development, Kim Corey and Shelly Armstrong, community development coordinators, and Judy Breton, CMG, CKO, director of grooming and special services—travels coast to coast each year to pay surprise visits to roughly 2,200 of the more than 13,000 pet retail operations in the U.S. Upcoming stops include Minnesota, Nevada, Illinois, Washington, Arizona, California and Utah.

“The Road Crew is a great way to say thank you to everyone who makes our industry so special,” said Doug Poindexter, president of WPA. “These visits allow us to see exactly what’s important to retailers as we talk with them and tour their businesses. We use these interactions to tailor educational programming and other offerings at our trade shows and conferences, our advocacy efforts at the legislative level and donations to programs and non-profits to best serve the pet industry.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Powell. “The retailers we meet absolutely love the chance to show us their operations and share their hopes and ideas for the future. We love this opportunity to connect with people who are turning their passion for pets into a profession.”

The pet retail industry boasts $18.5 billion in combined revenue and 3.1 percent annual growth, according to recent IBIS World research, and the needs of retail store owners and groomers are changing rapidly. The visits provide qualitative research and help inform the training and education WPA provides at its flagship events, ensuring attendees are equipped to run successful operations and remain on the cutting edge of consumer trends, among other important topics.

“WPA believes there is no better way to truly understand the needs of pet retailers than to see them at work,” said Poindexter. “The passion we witness on these Road Crew visits embodies the mission of WPA: to be an advocate for promotion of the responsible growth, health and sustainability of the pet retail industry as a whole and foster the well-being of pets and their families on a national and international level.”

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