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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

December 22, 2011

Little Work, Lots of Play Makes for a Great Day

By Julie Jacobs

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On December 17, 2011, I spent a fun full day at the 11th annual AKC/Eukanuba National Championship invitation-only dog show at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. What a great time. And what a great place to spot new merchandise trends and novelty items.

As many of you know the massive convention center from the Global Pet Expo, imagine it full of dogs of all sizes and breed everywhere you look. Just about everywhere you looked there was something going on. One hall was dedicated to agility and obedience demonstrations and competition. It even had a big pool where all sorts of dogs happily dove in to retrieve tossed toys; it also showcased both amateur and professional Super Fly Dock Jumping Dogs competitions.

dog show
The main hall featured endless vendors offering all sorts of products and services, in addition to the 17 rings of breed judging. Some breeds, such as Boston terriers, had as many as 64 entrants and thus lots of cheering. Another hall was dedicated to grooming and pre-show fluffing, as well as more vendors. In the lobby were other agility demonstrations, Law Enforcement & Military K9 Detection Competition and other presentations hosted by Eukanuba. And “Meet the Breed” was so expansive, that not only did it take over two halls, it also lined the walkways three- rows deep—pretty much one end to the other of the convention center. Everywhere you looked there were dogs, dogs and more dogs—a dog lover’s heaven.

As a dog lover, I was in heaven. Gorgeous, well-behaved dogs everywhere. As a retailer, this was a great shopping—and learning—experience. It enabled me to shop a massive amount of competition under one roof, seeing what was new or different, what piqued the interest of unlimited amounts of shoppers and pet industry specialists, or simply what would be a great addition to my product assortment. The hoards of shoppers were comprised of breeders, handlers and dog professionals from all parts of our industry, along with the media, dog-loving consumers and even those just there to see what it was about.
 
Attending the event enabled me to talk to new potential vendors, as well as to other retailers about product. Additionally, I was able to secure some new and exciting resources, such as product lines that were new to me and others that were new to all, as they were launched at the show. I now have a few new lines I am very excited about promoting in the near future.

As retailers, we need to keep all avenues open in respect to expanding our product lines. Visiting local dog events, especially when a national event like this show is in town, is a great way to work in a fun and exhilarating environment. What could be more fun than being surrounded by dogs and dog professionals while working? And if you are lucky like I was, not only did I learn what is “hot,” I also expanded my product line with new and unique items.
 
The next time you have an opportunity to go to a dog show, go work a little, play a lot and enjoy your time, as well as the reap the positive results in the future.


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