We’re the pet store that’s never sold pets. Here’s what else makes us stand out in the pet industry
EarthWise Pet franchises embraces a holistic approach to pet care that helps customers keep their animals healthy and happy. That means more choosing to carry brands that are all-natural and eco-friendly. It means training our pet franchise owners and staff on all of our brands so they can serve as the experts our customers are looking for.
It means we love pets as much as our customers do, and we won’t take shortcuts when it comes to providing the best products and the best care. And we want all our franchisees on the same page as we move toward becoming a service-centered business.
“I want somebody that’s coming in to really believe in what we call responsible pet ownership,” says CEO Mike Seitz. “That includes proper nutrition, that includes making sure that you’re taking your pet to the vet, that includes getting your dog groomed regularly, going on walks, using pet sitters, using pet walking, all these different services. I want our customers to know they can come to EarthWise for these services or recommendations on these services.”
Our place in a $95B industry
Americans spend an estimated $95 billion a year on our pets, according to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), and that number is expected to continue rising. Market research firm IBISWorld projects that rising revenues will be driven by a number of economic and demographic factors:
- The number of pets in the U.S. is expected to grow to more than 210 million, a growth rate of nearly 4%, through 2022.
- More and more, consumers treat pets like family members. As disposable income levels increase, pet lovers often splurge on higher-quality products or services.
- The number of American households is expected to increase through 2022. Given some 65% of households report owning a pet, demand for pet-related products and services also is likely to increase.
Meanwhile, EarthWise is continuing to focus more heavily on our service lines, like grooming. Americans spend around $10 billion on pet grooming and boarding services, according to the APPA. Grooming is becoming an increasingly larger share of our offerings as we shift toward a service-focused business.
How we beat retail giants
Grooming and self-wash are services that continue to generate a larger share of our revenues. That’s one area where we have an advantage over online retailers and many big-box pet supply stores. EarthWise is testing out other services in many locations, such as home delivery, pet taxis, pet walking, pet sitting, waste pickup and mobile grooming. It’s part of our strategy to remain a leader in the pet care industry and continue growing in a tough retail market.
In the products segment alone, we come out ahead because historically, our eco-friendly and all-natural suppliers can’t meet the volume required by pet store retail giants without compromising their quality — which they’re unwilling to do.
“EarthWise has carried great brands that attempted to scale up for a big-box store, but we’re pet experts and watch the ingredient labels like a hawk. We’ve dropped brands that were once great but gradually became mediocre,” Seitz says. “The fact that we watch labels that way and that customers know this is one reason they love us.”
Other EarthWise distinctions:
We become a hub for all pet needs. EarthWise Pet Supply franchisees work closely with animal rescue groups and reputable pet service providers in the community. Word-of-mouth from customers and other pet care providers helps build our brand.
Strong margins. We compete on the basis of quality, not price. Our customers are happy to pay more to provide their pets the best food and care. They gravitate toward products that are all-natural and safe for the environment. Our average grooming ticket for 2019 was $58, an almost 43% increase since 2015, according to our Franchise Disclosure Document.
Our retail offerings are curated. We’ve been a leader in all-natural pet food since the category began to emerge in the 1980s. For many brands, the founding family’s stores were one of their largest volume retailers in their early days. While some of the larger retailers carry one or two of our brands, the majority of EarthWise distributors and vendors only sell to specialty retailers.
Customers rely on us as experts. Our pet franchise owners, with the assistance of our pet nutrition certification program, help educate and guide customers. It’s the kind of one-on-one support that consumers don’t experience when buying online or browsing the dozens of aisles in some massive big-box pet retailer.
Manageable store size. Ideally, EarthWise franchise locations range in size from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet. Within that footprint is a full retail store as well as grooming and self-wash services. We don’t need enormous amounts of space to have a huge impact on our communities.