Another month, another great Dealer we’d like to Spotlight! We at Carna4 are really excited to be able to speak to with Howard Bearz, owner of Cheshire Cat and Dog, Too in Cheshire, CT. Owner of 5 dogs and 7 cats, Howard and his wife Heather’s love for pets drew them into the pet food industry where they have found great success.
C4: Hey Howard, great to speak today. We know you are very passionate about the health of animals and providing animals with healthy food, where does this come from?
H: We have always been passionate about pets as we have 5 beautiful dogs and 7 cats. We have always wanted to provide the best for them and when we were shopping for food there were never really enough good healthy options at the stores in our area. We ended up having to use regular store bought food which was not ideal. We decided to do some research and realized there were healthy alternatives to the food we were feeding our pets.
During that time I had been thinking about opening my own store, and with the passion for pets being so great in my family life, I thought bringing the two together would be a perfect marriage. Providing nutritional options for other pet owners is something that I wanted to accomplish and we know Cheshire Cat and Dog is doing that.
C4: What do you think the future trends will be in pet food?
H: From what I have observed the trends are moving towards natural and raw. More pet owners are coming in to the store trying to avoid allergies and avoid vet visits by feeding raw and natural to their pets. People I talk to in the store, as far as their pets are concerned are willing to do what it takes to keep them healthy. Their thought is, “ if I am eating healthy why don’t I do the same for my pet? “.
C4: What do you think are the keys to being a success in the pet food industry?
H: The keys to success are offering a quality product at a reasonable price while providing the best customer service possible. By giving everyone that comes in the door individual attention and making sure we treat them like a member of our extended family. Provide your undivided attention to their needs and questions. I am proud to say we were voted Best Supply Store for the Greater Waterbury area for 2012. This is amazing considering we have only been in business for 3-and-a-half years. We are very proud of this achievement because this is voted on by the community.
C4: What advice would you give new people in the industry?
H: Know your products and how to properly answer questions related to those products. Make sure you research what you are offering and that you know the ingredients are quality.
C4: Cheshire Cat and Dog has a special place in the community with respects to your work fundraising for rescue shelters and getting pets placed into homes, can you explain your role in more detail?
H: Heather and I are very committed to the rescue shelters here in our community. Around once a month we hold a fundraiser to support a specific shelter. We hold ‘rescue nights’ with live bands, other vendors performing discount grooming and clipping, some people sell baked goods with the proceeds going to the area rescue shelter we are showcasing that night. We hold 6-7 per year and they are a lot of fun. The community gets out and shows their support, and of course lots of pets and pet owners show up to give back. We are constantly working with shelters to get pets placed into good homes, we love giving back in that way as well.