IndePet continues to champion local independent pet stores and advocate for the entire independent pet channel through its key philosophy of ‘Stronger Together’.

As a cooperative, IndePet is 100 per cent owned by its independent pet store members, and its members are the key to its success. It’s for this reason that IndePet has set its sights on creating greater strength in numbers by growing its network to 100 stores by 2025.

It’s an ambitious goal for the group which currently has around 45+ independent pet store members, but it’s one that CEO Todd Clarkson believes in. And with eight new stores already joining the group over the past year, it’s off to a great start.

“The local independent pet store is the lifeblood of our industry and it’s vitally important that they not just survive – but thrive,” says Clarkson.

For independent pet stores to thrive in what is a rapidly evolving market, Clarkson says that it will require a change in thinking of how the industry views, supports, and ultimately respects independent operators.

“Like we have seen in other industries such as grocery and pharmacy, the independent channel must evolve into a more unified voice; and that is done through groups and cooperatives,” he says.

“This is where IndePet comes in – IndePet exists to ensure the longevity and prosperity of independent pet stores. We play our part by providing a fit-for-purpose support business that is 100 per cent focused on growing sales and lowering costs for our members.

“We believe that every independent pet store can benefit from being part of IndePet and that a larger, stronger IndePet is not just good for our members – but our suppliers and the industry as a whole.”

Over the past 12 months, IndePet has repositioned its long term strategic objective to become a full service retail support business. To achieve this, the group has restructured and grown its team, with Tia Wishart taking on a new role as Business Development Manager and Krysten Arnold joining the team as Marketing Manager.

The group has also expanded its exclusive product portfolio to help stores compete with the current price wars and launched a new customised marketing system that allows independent pet stores to be part of a large marketing campaign – but choose their own deals and offers.

Clarkson says that a strong priority has been in understanding that IndePet’s member stores have different local markets and thus the business needs to be able to support each store with the product ranges that they need in their local area.

“We have a strong focus on strengthening relationships with our supplier partners to keep us ahead of trends and new products. Our members have expanded their ranges in these areas and started to look at new and unique brands that customers are looking for. Independents are nimbler in fast paced market – our members can react instantly without red tape or bureaucracy,” he says.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, Clarkson says that IndePet will continue to champion local independent pet stores and advocate for the entire independent pet channel

“We will provide more support and resources for our existing members that help them grow sales and lower costs. And we will build our existing supplier network by supporting our current supplier partners and help new suppliers to connect with our members.

“Most importantly, we will grow the IndePet store network and use their collective power to improve their individual businesses.”

This article was originally published in the Nov-Jan issue of Pet Industry News.

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