Honesty is the Best Policy for This Massachusetts Retailer

Gina Swansburg, owner of Gone to the Dogs in Wakefield, Mass., says she is focused on finding the right people to join her store’s staff. She explains the challenges she has faced during the hiring process and shares business goals she’s currently tackling. 

Pet Product News: What are the top-selling products in your store right now?

Gina Swansburg: Answers Pet Food’s goat’s milk in all sizes and body parts of all kinds. Goat’s milk has been a top seller for us for quite some time. Raw as well as kibble feeders are using it daily. Also, we’ve been experiencing some long stretches of hot, humid weather, and frozen goat’s milk cubes are a perfect treat. But, for others, keeping dogs occupied with a bully stick or chew when traveling or if it’s too hot to be out makes life easier. 

PPN: What are your favorite products right now?

Swansburg: Nourish air-dried treats from Isle of Dogs, which are new here at Gone to the Dogs and are flying out the door. I also like Puppy Scoops ice cream from Puppy Cake. It is the perfect warm-weather treat.

PPN: What industry trends have you been keeping your eye on most closely? 

Swansburg: I’m watching what is happening with the raw food portion of the industry and how many companies are turning to high-pressure processing (HPP).

PPN: What business challenge are you currently in the process of tackling?

Swansburg: Trying to hire additional help is a huge challenge right now. It’s been hard to find help for a couple of reasons. First, it’s summer—many who would be looking for part-time work will wait until September or so to look. And unemployment is low so the pool of available people is small. Word-of-mouth, Craigslist, Indeed—I will work those for a while, and hopefully the right person will come along. 

PPN: What business goal are you hoping to achieve this year?

Swansburg: My goals include increasing my staff and putting my marketing efforts back on track. My plan for marketing is to find my marketing calendar and start using it again. Once I get back into my old routine, it will all fall into place.

PPN: What is your best tip for connecting with customers?

Swansburg: It’s important to me that my staff and I are genuine and honest with each customer.

Get an inside look at Gone to the Dogs in our gallery below.