Wow…summer really snuck up on me. The 4th of July has come and gone and I haven’t even done my spring cleaning yet! But who has the time?
Summer does bring with it an opportunity to focus on some unique products that can differentiate your pet store from the competition. New for me this summer is Yoghund frozen yogurt for dogs. My new store location is just a few doors down from a frozen yogurt shop called Plum Dandy. Since I have more floor space now, I was able to put a freezer in the store and fill it with all-natural, low-fat frozen yogurt for dogs. What better way for Fido to cool off during his stroll around dog-friendly Downtown Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) than with this frozen treat? I just started selling the yogurt earlier this week and am almost ready to reorder the product.
Something else I’ve added to my boutique this summer are cooling vests for dogs. They are water-activated with no need for refrigeration and are very effective in keeping the dog’s core temperature down during very hot days, especially for breeds such as bulldogs and pugs, which have less than optimum respiratory temperature regulation.
Of course, I continue to offer all the summertime bestsellers, including lifejackets, buoyant toys, aquatic-themed collars/leashes, as well as Bowser Beer, a non-alcoholic beer for dogs. I also sell a bunch of Hawaiian shirts and doggie sundresses.
I know I am fortunate to have a business in a summer tourism-driven area. Historic Saratoga Racecourse, the oldest thoroughbred racetrack and sporting venue in the United States, opens for its 144th meeting in late July. Racing ends on Labor Day. The population of Saratoga Springs doubles during the month of July and triples during the month of August. Since many of my summertime customers are from out-of-town—and some of them come from areas that are devoid of a dog boutique—I do sell "winter” merchandise during the summer months (e.g., winter coats, boots and wool sweaters). So make sure not to clear your floor of winter items even though the thermometer might tell you differently. You never know where your customers are from and what they might be looking for.
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