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The aims and objectives of pet shops are as varied as the people who own and run them. One pet store owner may be motivated by a lifelong love of animals. Another may be in business purely for a consistent income. Some pet shop owners enjoy conveying information about pets to the public, while others prefer building a community based on the care and companionship of everything from bunnies to boa constrictors.
The primary objective of any business is to make a profit, and pet shops are no exception. These stores sell pets — dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs, birds — along with an array of pet supplies. Food, cages, toys, even sweaters and boots fill the shelves at most pet shops. To make sure their sales revenue is larger than their costs, pet shop owners figure out the average cost per item and how much their rent, utilities, insurance and other business costs are, then price their goods and services to exceed their investments.
Some pet stores offer educational materials, workshops and demonstrations to educate pet owners on topics of interest. Subjects include dog training methods, aquarium maintenance, bird breeding and rabbit grooming techniques. Pet stores sometimes team up with local animal welfare societies to provide information about spaying and neutering pets, as well as the pros and cons of pet adoption. Educating pet owners helps pet shops achieve their profit objective by increasing potential sales to new and existing pet owners.
Pet shops often provide services such as grooming, obedience training and pet sitting. Shot and spay clinics are often part of a pet shop's services, offering affordable vaccinations and veterinary care. Pet store chains such as Petco sometimes provide mobile grooming services and online first aid for pets. Some pet shops have do-it-yourself dog bathing facilities, complete with shampoo, brushes, towels and drying stands. Providing pet care services not only brings in revenue but also presents the pet shop as a team of caring professionals.
Some pet shops hold community meet-ups, such as a dachshund lovers’ group, to create close ties with pet owners and encourage pet owners to congregate. Shops may also hold costume parties or contests and offer pet photography services. In Birmingham, Alabama, the Pet Shop “Plus” pet store holds a “Picture With Santa Paws” day just before Christmas, and an “AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day” in August. Holding special events or creating pet lover communities introduces the pet shop to potential customers.
A freelance writer for more than 30 years, D.M. Gutierrez has had nonfiction, fiction and poetry published in women's, mystery, academic, children's, disability and teen print publications and websites including "Psychological Reports" and "Highlights for Children." She has an advanced degree in psychology from the University of California at Davis.