Pet Business magazine has named Independent Pet Partners (IPP) as its 2022 Retailer of the Year.
Founded in 2017, Independent Pet Partners was created to support established neighborhood pet retail banners facing the rapidly changing needs of their customers by leveraging economies of scale to deliver advanced enablers—such as loyalty rewards and omni-channel flexibility—while nurturing the unique characteristics that underpinned the historic success of those retail brands: superior customer education on food and wellness delivered by engaged team members; a deep sense of neighborhood and community; and a high-touch, wellness-focused services model
Following five years of strategic development during in turbulent business environment, IPP now operates 162 stores in 14 states under the Chuck & Don’s, Kriser’s, Loyal Companion and Natural Pawz omni-channel brands.
“Understanding the direction in which the pet care market was going and the challenges a future dominated by e-commerce and big-box competition would hold for independent pet stores, Independent Pet Partners created an incredible blueprint for the next generation of indie chains,” said Mark Kalaygian, publishing director and editor in chief of Pet Business. “Of course, the company owes much of its success to its acquisition of some of the pet industry’s premier independent chains but complementing the sensibilities and reputation of these retail brands with organizational scale and a unique pet wellness solution in the market enables them to remain competitive with larger, national retailers and has set IPP apart as an innovator in the marketplace.”
In 2019 IPP was successful in trademarking its customer engagement philosophy on pet wellness, a pet industry first.
“We wanted to recognize the essence of the experience customers received in their neighborhood pet store, and take it to the next level”, said Tricia Nichols, IPP’s chief marketing officer.
“The Five Pillars of Pet Wellness is a collaboration between IPP, our store teams, the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection and a trans-disciplinary team of behaviorists, veterinarians, and other wellness experts. It bought a unique solution to the pet industry: a first-ever definition of “pet wellness” that could make pet parenting easier to understand and simpler to implement. A win/win for pet parents and their pets.”
The Five Pillars of Pet Wellness establishes a practical guide for pet families in the care and wellbeing of their pets, which is focused on a model of prevention science, wellness needs and overall happiness, helping pets to thrive and live longer: Nourishment, Play, Comfort, Companionship & Purpose.
According to IPP president Brian Murphy, “The Five Pillars of Pet Wellness philosophy underpins the IPP business model with the framework being embedded into every aspect of our business—education, assortment, communications and navigation. Shopping by the pillars makes it clear and easy to be the pet parent you want to be, helping us to fulfill our purpose of supporting the magic of unconditional love”
As the 2022 Retailer of the Year, Independent Pet Partners will be the subject of an in-depth profile in the August issue of Pet Business. The IPP team will also be honored at an invitation-only dinner reception that will be held during SuperZoo in Las Vegas.