Bone Marché marks Lund Food’s foray into the pet-store business. Photo courtesy of Bone Marché
Sidebar: Poodle Profits
Retailers are catering to finicky pet lovers by broadening their assortment of specialty products.
Take West Point Market, Akron, Ohio, which opened a 1,500-square-foot section called “Paws” in 2011 that stocks only natural, organic and low-allergen cat/dog treats and food.
The section features unique items like wheat-free dog bones, turkey jerky and sweet potato biscuits.
West Point attends trade shows to find new and innovative pet foods, grooming products and accessories.
It was at a recent National Association for Specialty Food Trade show that West Point discovered Cloudstar’s Buddy Biscuits, all-natural dog treats that contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, making them suitable for dogs with allergies and sensitivities. West Point sells a 6-ounce bag for $5.99.
“They are all natural and made with real fruits and vegetables,” Chief Executive Officer Rick Vernon told SN.
Another new item is Isle of Dogs, gluten-free, antioxidant-rich, whole food dog treats. A 24-item bag sells for $5.99.
A popular item at the store is Northern’s wheat-free biscuits, which sell for $8.99 for a 17-ounce bag. Part of the appeal is that they come in unique varieties like grilled venison and turkey/cranberry Canadian bacon with blueberries.
The typical pet shopper at West Point owns a $1,000 purebred dog that rarely goes outside, and sleeps in its owner’s bed. Such shoppers don’t hesitate to pay a premium for what they consider top-of-the-line food, treats and related items.
They want healthy snacks and are willing to pay $9 a bag to get it, said Vernon.
“I wouldn’t spend that much for a snack for myself,” Vernon joked.
If even one customer requests an item, West Point will source it. Such was the case for Healthy Dogma all-natural, grain-free “Barkers” pet treats. Shaped like a dog bone, the treats come packaged in a dome-shaped cup. Selling for $7.99 for ½ pound, they come in unique flavors like whitefish, lamb and carrots, and buffalo (made with real Bison meat).