Posted: Oct. 23, 2012, 12:20 p.m. EDT
A better pooper scooper was what caught the eyes of Petsmart buyers who roamed the aisles at SuperZoo on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas.
A 10-minute presentation the next day in a conference room at Mandalay Bay Convention Center was what earned the inventors of PoogoStick a deal with Petsmart to stock the pet waste product at the Phoenix-based retail giant’s more than 1,200 stores in 2013.
The Buhagiar brothers—Josh, 31, Jason, 27, and Jordan, 29—perfected the device over six years, most recently in a West Sacramento, Calif., garage.
From left, Jenna, Jason, Jordan and Josh Buhagiar with PoogoStick, which will show up on Petsmart shelves in 2013.
"Giving up was never an option for us,” Jordan said. "After a dozen prototypes and countless hours of work, we came up with what we knew was a completely innovative product.”
The brothers and Jordan’s wife, Jenna, displayed PoogoStick as a SuperZoo exhibitor. On the second day of the show they were among 26 attendees who received a gold ticket to pitch their products to Petsmart executives.
"When we got the golden ticket, we knew that no matter what the result of our presentation, just being able to present our dream to Petsmart was a prize in itself,” Jordan said.
The campaign, called Innovation Station, was a first for Petsmart, said Laurie Taylor, vice president of the company’s dog and cat hard goods division.
"We designed Innovation Station to help us identify great products and send a message to the industry that Petsmart’s doors are open to creative suppliers of all sizes,” Taylor said. "The product and vendor selected is one example of the initiative’s success.”
The Buhagiars will receive guidance on packaging, pricing, product development and sourcing as well as Petsmart-funded marketing. A select number of other finalists may receive in-store and Web placement in 2013 along with marketing support, Petsmart noted.
PoogoStick, which won third place in SuperZoo's Best New Products Awards
, is designed to work on dog and cat waste. The device slides under the waste and pushes it into an accompanying pan, Petsmart reported. An optional bag may be used for cleaner disposal.<HOME>
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