Posted: Sept. 11, 2012, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Throngs of pet retailers, groomers and exhibitors braved a desert thunderstorm Tuesday to descend on Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for the 2012 SuperZoo trade show.
Despite an 18 percent increase in floor space compared with the 2011 show, SuperZoo sold out in record time, with 871 exhibiting companies, including 254 first-time exhibitors.
"There is a grass-roots dynamic that we have appreciatively watched develop, where we are earning the reputation of being a top show in the pet industry due to the quality of the buyer attendee," said Doug Poindexter, president of the World Pet Association, the Monrovia, Calif., organization that puts on SuperZoo. "Most are decision makers, and the importance of attending as a place to connect with key buyers is being encouraged."
The show features everything from all-natural products, computerized ID tags and automatic pet doors to programmable feeders, touch-activated toys and mobile services for aging seniors and their pets. Pet fashions on display in the Rodeo Drive section include faux mink coats, designer jackets, Halloween costumes, holiday attire and upscale leather carriers.
Business consultant Jon Schallert is headlining the SuperZoo University educational program, which focuses on business development, animal wellness, and technology and the Internet. An offshoot of SuperZoo University, the School of Animal Wellness, debuted this year with breakout sessions on reptiles, birds and fish.
SuperZoo also offers a host of activities for groomers, including the Groomer SuperShow, skills improvement training and Groomer's Court, where grooming products are on display.
A concert sponsored by P&G Pet Care will take place tonight at the House of Blues. Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will perform, and proceeds from the $10 tickets will benefit Pets in the Classroom.
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