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1:43 PM   April 21, 2015
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Pet Product News International presents...

ROTY 2014-2015

Retailer of the Year 2014-2015

The Pet Product News International Retailer of the Year award was created more than a decade ago to recognize retailing excellence in the pet industry. Pet Product News International, the pet industry's leading trade magazine, profiles the top Retailer of the Year in its September issue. The winner and a companion are flown to SuperZoo and given accommodations by the sponsor of the contest. He or she is presented with the award at the show.

Eleven Special Recognition award winners are also named in the September issue and profiled throughout the upcoming year. All 12 winners serve on the Pet Product News Retail Advisory board.

Candidates for the various awards are selected from a multitude of applications received from retailers wishing to be considered for this honor. Retailers submit their applications, along with additional materials (photos, videos, event materials, etc.) that help the magazine staff make the best decision. Staff members look for the following criteria: employee training practices, promotion of companion animals and pet adoptions, involvement with service organizations, innovative promotions, effective strategies in the marketplace, community impact and industry impact. 

This year, Pet Product News International received an unprecedented number of applications. With so many amazing retailers to choose from, the editors here at the magazine wished we could have selected more than 12 recipients. And so, for the first time, we also named 11 Retailer of the Year Honorable Mention recipients.


Retailer of the Year: It’s A Family Affair
By Lizett Bond


When they were youngsters, miles separated Brad Kriser and Ken Grouf, first cousins born six weeks apart, but vacations shared over the years forged a close friendship and an enduring bond that would serve them both far beyond familial ties. 

The journey began in Chicago in 2001 when Kriser opened The Barking Lot, which offered boarding, daycare, grooming and training.

"I was probably the first person in the area to bring all these different aspects under one roof,” he said. "I loved waking up in the morning and feeling good about what I was doing.” As a convenience to his customers, Kriser also stocked healthful, all-natural pet foods and supplies at the 10,000-square-foot facility.

"The choices were limited in the all-natural pet food market then,” said Kriser.

"I wanted to create a new type of environment, someplace aesthetically pleasing and, more importantly, with an educational setting, to inform people about the benefits of providing a healthy lifestyle for their pets,” he added.

With these ideologies in mind, Kriser knew just who to turn to, the person upon whose entrepreneurial acumen he relied when opening The Barking Lot: his first cousin. Grouf had business expertise, branding and strategy knowledge, and enthusiasm for building companies. ... Read full story» 

Special Recognition Recipients

Two Bostons
One to Watch
Naperville, Ill.

TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories 
Outstanding Human-Animal Bond Promotion

Savannah, Ga.

Pussy & Pooch Pethouse and Pawbar
Outstanding Destination & Lifestyle Concept

Los Angeles (4 locations)

Furry Face Inc.
Outstanding Growth

Redlands, Calif.

Natural Pawz
Outstanding Health and Wellness Promotion


Treats Unleashed
Outstanding Consumer Education 

St. Louis

Parker's: A Natural Dog & Cat Market
Outstanding Promotion & Marketing

Loyal Biscuit Co.
Outstanding Community Outreach

Rockland, Maine

Odyssey Pets
Outstanding Business Management

Royal Pets Market & Resort
Outstanding Pet Services
Tampa, Fla.

The Quirky Pet
Outstanding Independent Spirit
Montpelier, Vt.




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