What West Paw’s Expansion into Petco Means for Independent Pet Retailers
Pet owners will soon be able to find select West Paw products at Petco.com and Petco stores. The Bozeman, Mont.-based company made the announcement mid-June.
In an interview with PPN, Spencer Williams, president and CEO of West Paw, said that the partnership was made in an effort to introduce more consumers to American-made, eco-friendly pet products and treats.
“West Paw has been around for 24 years,” Williams said. “In those early years, we always sold to a variety of pet stores, from independent stores to Pet Supplies Plus. … Having a diverse retailer base was always essential to our success.”
Over the course of the years, West Paw has also expanded into large chains, such as Target, natural grocery and global exports. However, such partnerships aren’t taken lightly, according to Williams—and Petco was no exception.
“For me, it was really important to get to know and spend time with the executive leadership at Petco to understand how our visions align,” Williams said, noting their shared values of providing pets with safe and healthy pet products.
There are some people in business who go on just gut decisions, a quick grab so to speak, Williams said.
“That is fundamentally against everything what West Paw believes in,” Williams added. “We’ve been in business for 24 years because we make consistent progress and thoughtful growth, and [partnerships have] to be aligned with our vision and values.”
Still, as expected, the partnership with Petco has brought about some mixed feelings amongst a handful of independent pet retailers.
“We have listened to them and understand their concerns,” Williams said. “It’s certainly important for us to acknowledge that the experience for all retailers won’t be the same. However, we’ve also had handfuls of independent retailers who have told us that this doesn’t change their strategy with West Paw. They understand who we are, trust us as a brand and look forward to continuing their business with us.”
West Paw will continue to offer independent pet stores amazing customer service, fast shipping times and discounts throughout the year, all without lowering the quality of products, according to Williams. West Paw will also continue to rigorously enforce its advertising policy and minimum advertised price (MAP) program.
“That’s not going to change,” Williams said.
In addition, West Paw is making a conscious effort to further connect with independent retailers, whether it be in helping them merchandise West Paw’s products or other means, according to Williams.
As to future partnerships?
“We’re always looking for great partners who want to strategize with us and help each business grow.” Williams said. “At this time, we don’t have any expansions currently on the docket. For us, it’s really important to be transparent and clear with our retailers. Before we went into Target, I sent out an email to everyone who buys from us. We did press interviews and met with people at SuperZoo. We did the same thing for Petco.”
When West Paw makes any other expansion decisions, they’ll reach out again, according to Williams.
“That’s something we don’t normally see in industries, but it’s something that West Paw has done with our retailers for years, to be as transparent as we possibly can with our partners,” Williams said. “We’ll continue to do so.”
Beginning in late June, Petco.com will sell the following products: Zogoflex and Zogoflex Echo dog toys and two custom Creamy Treat formulations plus specific Rowdies with HardyTex and Zogoflex Chew Zones, and all Outings Collars and Leashes, and all Strolls Collars and Leashes.
Come late July, all Petco stores will sell Zogoflex and Zogoflex Echo dog toys and two custom Creamy Treat formulations.
Neither Petco stores nor Petco.com will sell West Paw’s new Freeze-Dried Raw Treats.
West Paw, a founding member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, currently has products in more than 6,000 pet specialty stores across the United States. Products are also distributed worldwide.