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While big chains like Petco and PetSmart dominate the pet services and products field, smaller businesses that specialize are noticing financial gains. Due largely in part to diversifying their products and services, shoppers are spending.


Chain store PetSmart dominates pet food sales but the pet services sector of business is primarily dominated by smaller businesses. Petco has expanded into grooming and training, but a large portion of pet-focused businesses are growing due to personalized customer service. As a result, small business owners are seeing dollars.


Market research firm Packaged Facts reported spending on non-vet services grew an average of 5% a year between 2006 and last year, reaching $6.1 billion. The American Pet Products Association estimates that pet owners will spend $12 billion on veterinary care this year, compared with $8 billion five years ago.


With a sluggish economy, some small businesses are honing in and even expanding. Dogtopia is a modernized version of traditional kennels. Pets can check in for spa-like services or stay longer with webcams for owners to monitor their furry family members.


Mark Van Wye, COO of Zoom Room, a dog-training franchise, offered, “Agility training is fun, and it’s something any dog can do.” He continued, “It cements how well you communicate with your dog. Our motto is, ‘We don’t train dogs, we train the people who love them.”


Some retail stores are offering extras such as free Wi-Fi, coffee and even indoor dog parks to enjoy. Zoom Room customers can book a Doggy Disco birthday party.

“When the rest of corporate America was contracting, we chose to expand,” Van Wye says. Laid-off or burned-out workers were looking for new opportunities, and prime real estate could be grabbed at bargain prices. “We got some incredible franchise candidates, the real cream of the crop,” he says.

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