Hows business, considering the slowdown in the housing market and high gas prices?
The trend in humanization of pets is one of our biggest business drivers. The industry is growing at 5% or 6% a year, but there’s only a 2% increase in pet head count. As pets become more humanized and childlike, they move up in expenditures. Our newest offerings are pet hotels and “doggie day camps.” There’s short- and long-term boarding with snacks, daily walks, “poochy cots” and a special relief room. There’s also day camp for hotel guests or working people who don’t want to leave their pets home all day. We’ve got stores that have 90 dogs in day camp during the day from 7 to 7. Only-children usually find a play group; many single-dog households do, too. Q: Is it hard to find good people to hire, as it is in much of retail? A: We’re very, very lucky. People want to work around pets. They can’t believe they’re being paid to play with a dog. When we have a store opening and 35 jobs, we have 400 applications. Q: How did the recent pet-food recalls affect business? A: What happened is m