Program Development is underway!






10:00 am  - 10:45 am

General Session: Get the Scoop on How Pet Food is Regulated to Give you Greater Knowledge of What You Sell 
Susan Thixton, Pet Food Consumer Advocate


Pet food ‘speaks’ a different language than human food. Human food ‘chicken’ and pet food ‘chicken’ are two completely different things. But it’s not just chicken…from manufacturing requirements to enforcement of legal regulations, almost every single detail of pet food is different than that of human food. This presentation will provide an overview of the regulations of pet food that will help you help your customers.


  • Learn about the legal definitions of common pet food ingredients

  • Discover which laws are enforced and which are not

  • Understand the definition of complete and balanced

  • Is it Feed or is it Food? What is ‘Real Chicken’? How balanced is “Complete and Balanced?”


10:45 am  - 11:15 am

General Session: Boost Your Bottom Line – How Adding the Right Pet Supplements Can Enhance Your Business
Bill Bookout, BS, MBA, President, National Animal Supplement Council

Pets are living longer and subsequently developing age-related problems similar to their human guardians. People are taking clues from their own ways of staying healthier by eating better and taking supplements, which is particularly important as veterinary healthcare costs rise.

With so many product choices, how do you know which suppliers to choose that will help you grow your business and create satisfied customers?  This presentation will unleash the key factors a retailer should consider in creating happy customers as well as gaining new customers from referrals.  Learn the critical differentiators for your employees that can help accomplish these objectives, increase your sales and help maximize the success of your business.  This interactive session will provide key takeaways that you can incorporate in your business and implement immediately.


  • Discover the 3 key factors your store wants to accomplish to help grow sales with three questions to ask when selecting supplement products

  • Identify opportunistic suppliers that may actually hurt your business

  • Learn how to increase YOUR value proposition for your customers

  • Understand the key factors in differentiating your business from competitors



11:15 am – 12:00  pm  (Roundtable Discussion with Retailers)

General Session: Helping Brick & Mortars Survive        
Moderator:  Greg Tilford, CEO, Animal Essentials, Inc

Panelists include: Tazz Latifi, Owner, Petropolis, Terri S Grow, Founder and President, PetSage, Inc. and others to be announced


Close to one-half of all pet owners purchase food, treats and other supplies online, often at prices that fall well below the manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing.   Many independent brick and mortar retailers feel that they cannot compete and are being left behind by product manufacturers they have supported for many years.  As the trend toward internet shopping continues to grow, many of these retailers feel that their end is near.  But is it? It doesn’t have to be!  

During this roundtable discussion, experienced retailers and manufacturers will identify strategies to bring walk-in customers home and keep them there.  During this dynamic, interactive session, retailers will walk away with new ideas and strategies to:


  • Identify and exploit the advantages that brick & mortar stores still hold over internet retailers

  • Build your store as part of a pet-loving community

  • Use education and services as added value to everything you sell

  • Learn the art of transforming customers into brand advocates and followers of your mission


12:00 – 12:30 pm

Campfire Session: Meet & Greet with Susan Thixton


12:30 – 1:00 pm

Campfire Session: Book Signing & Meet and Greet with Pam Johnson-Bennett


1:00 – 1:30 pm

Campfire Session: The ‘Whole Body Approach’ to Keep Your Clients Coming Back 
Tazz Latifi, Owner, Petropolist   


Let’s face it without our customers we will have a hard time making ends meet…In order to keep the lights on, pay ourselves and our staff we will need to retain our customers as well as have them recommend us so we can continuously gain new business.  One way of setting yourself apart from the herd and keeping your clients coming back for your valuable offerings is my guidelines for the “Whole Body Approach’. If you are still trying to figure it out or are new in the industry you may take away something that will help you when you didn’t expect it.

  • Be creative and arm yourself with information that is already available but often ignored by so many retailers

  • Learn how you and your staff can be better informed than you and your customers

  • Set yourself apart from the competition and keep your customers healthy, happy and coming back for more

  • Discover recommendations for home cooking options that will keep your clients loyal to you and your store

  • Learn the benefits of having a personalized food ‘ranking’ system for your store; A little up front work that pays off later


1:30 – 2:00 pm

Campire Session: Simple Tips to Help you get Press for your Pet Business

Nancy Hassel, President & Founder, American Pet Professionals

As a PR expert in the pet industry for over ten years, Nancy will discuss simple ways that pet professionals, retail store owners and pet product manufacturers can get press for themselves.  In this session, we will discuss what you need, what the press is looking for and how to get them the information to land your pet business in the news. 

  • Learn how to reach media to announce your products or services

  • Write a winning press release; Understand what the press is looking for


2:00 - 2:30 pm

Campfire Session: Meet & Greet with Panelists from Helping Brick and Mortars Survive 


Campire Session: Facebook Advertising 101: A How to Guide for Pet Businesses
Jane Harrell, President, 'cause Digital Marketing

In this session for Facebook advertising beginners, Ms. Harrell will go over the pros and cons of advertising through Facebook, pet business ad tactics that she is seeing work as well as other trends in the ad space and covering the standard ad formats you can try at your business.


  • Gain an understanding of how Facebook's advertising works and basic options available

  • Discover industry trends for how other pet businesses are gaining traction via Facebook ads

  • Understand the questions to ask yourself before diving into this business channel



2:30 - 3:00 pm

Campfire Session: How to Find and Retain the Best Employees 
Candace D'Agnolo, Business Consultant & Founder, Pet Boss Nation


The struggle is real. We can't live without them, but gosh how do we live with them? Finding good employees and keeping them happy and focused on the goals of your company can be a full-time job in itself! In this session, you'll learn some tips and tricks to improve the quality of your new hires and increase the likelihood of them being with you for years to come.

  • Interviewing best practices

  • Understand the Life Cycle of employees

  • Discover great incentivizing techniques


3:00 - 3:30 pm

Campfire Session: Develop a Social Media Strategy That Gets the Most Bang For Your Buck and Your Valuable Time

Glenn A. Polyn, Editor-in-Chief, Pet Age Magazine

With strategic thinking and careful planning, even the busiest business owners can find a way to make social media work for them Does social media feel like a never-ending party where attendance alone is insufficient, a pressure that produces disappointing effort/reward imbalances?   This discussion will uncover many of the misconceptions about how to use Twitter and Facebook, that can result in businesses missing out on some important opportunities. While the numbers of likes, follows and retweets are proofs of popularity, those metrics are just a part of the equation for tracking social ROI. By showing statistics surveying consumers as well as social media marketers, this session highlights the importance of using social media to connect with pet owners and convert them into repeat customers.

•    Recognize the value of social media marketing for your pet business and avoid rookie mistakes

•    Convert pet owners in your area into repeat customers through social media

•    Understand the metrics to track ROI on social media



3:30 - 4:00 pm

Campfire Session: Event Ideas that Attract Customers 

Nancy Hassel, President & Founder, American Pet Professionals

Hosting a successful pet event at your retail location is a daunting task, from deciding on what kind of event, organizing the event, promoting the event properly (and with enough lead time), training your staff, drumming up excitement and so forth.  This Campfire session will cover all of these areas and then some to help you raise the bar for your next event. 

  • Learn how to stand out in the sea of pet events

  • Discover easy ways to promote your event

  • Bring in new customers

4:00 - 4:30 pm

Campfire Session: Facebook Advertising 201: What's Working Now?
Jane Harrell, President, 'cause Digital Marketing

This session will help those who have already tried some Facebook advertising understand the strategy, trends and targeting techniques that take your pet businesses messaging to the next level on this platform.


  • Develop a campaign template to help you achieve the most with your ads

  • Review pet business trends and insights for what pet owners WANT to see

  • Acquire free tools you need to be using to gather insights and capture ROI



4:30 - 5:00 pm

General Session: Using Live Video to Promote Your Store
Nancy Hassel, President & Founder, American Pet Professionals

If you haven't noticed, live video is taking over our social media accounts. Pet professionals are hesitantly jumping in, but many are not sure what, how or when to go live that will help their pet businesses.  In this session you will learn what social media platforms to go live, how to get people to your live broadcasts and keep them interested, many ideas on what topics to go live about, and easy to use software and equipment to go live with!

  • Understand what social media platforms to use for live video that will help your pet business

  • Get media coaching tips from an experienced TV Producer and Production Coordinator for 10+ years, to help you be more comfortable on camera


Campfire Session: Find Hidden Money - Is Your Inventory Management Killing Your Cash Flow?      

Candace D'Agnolo, Business Consultant & Founder, Pet Boss Nation


Are cash flow worries keeping you up at night? Do you have too much inventory or not enough? Are markdowns eating away at your profit margin or are you turning into a museum? With the right mix of inventory that your customers want, at the right time and at the right price, independent retailers can compete with big box and online powerhouses. Your inventory management can change everything and believe it or not, help you sleep at night.


  • Are you over Inventory or Under Inventory?

  • Understand how to manage profit vs cash flow

  • Recognize how to track inventory flow based on sales trends


5:00 – 6:00 pm

Cocktail Reception on the Show Floor



9:00 am – 9:30 am

 General Session: Educating Your Customers on the Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition
Dr. Richard Patton,  Global Scientist and Field Researcher

In today’s world of pet food, choice abounds. But what is the right choice? What do we need to know to guide our customers towards making a smart choice? In this special session, Dr. Richard Patton, an experienced global scientist and field researcher, translates complex nutrition and science theory into entertaining and practical information that will help you educate your customers on proper pet nutrition. Blending over 35 years of experience on the topic of pet nutrition with refreshing insight and humor, this session will provide key factoids that you can incorporate immediately when counseling customers about proper pet nutrition.

Explore the role of evolution in the nutrition of all mammals, including pets

  • Determine the optium nutrition for a pet (as determined by science at this time)

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of options on the market today for the pet owner


9:30 am – 10:00 am

General Session: Knowledge, Compassion, and Trust: The Three Keys to Building Relationships with Cat Owning Customers
Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, Best Selling Author and host of the Nat Geo Wild/Animal Planet UK show, Psycho Kitty


You can’t compete with big chain or internet stores on price, but independent stores have the advantage of getting personal to build long-term customer relationships.

Cats are the most popular pet in America, they rule the internet and are the stars in the new trend of cat cafes. We love our cats! Do your employees know enough cat behavior to guide the customer toward the most appropriate purchase? A cat owner who buys the wrong scratching post won’t be happy with your store if kitty still scratches the furniture. Why are certain products more appropriate for a specific cat and others aren’t? How do you make personalized recommendations? Become known as the local cat experts!


  • Learn how to personalize product recommendations to cat owners at all stages of their cats’ lives and be able to tell them WHY

  • Know key questions to ask to show genuine concern for what is best for the cat

  • Be able to offer valuable behavior tips to help ensure product success


10:00 am – 10:30  am 

General Session: Pet Nutrition:  How to Help Your Customers Decide
Billy Hoekman, Natural Science Coordinator, Answers Pet Food


Nutrition and how it relates to the right diet for your pet has become an increasingly hard thing to decipher. Raw? HPP? Freeze-dried? Dehydrated? Canned? Kibble? Prey model? High protein? Low fat? Vitamin and mineral supplements? From the avid home diet preparer to the person who just switched from grocery store food - everyone has questions.  In this relate able and informative discussion we'll discuss the following:


  • Explore the various types of food processing

  • Understand nutrition hierarchy

  • Discover how to put it all together on the sales floor


10:30 – 11:00 am                  

Campfire Session: Book signing and Meet & Greet with Pam Johnson-Bennett  


11:00 - 11:30 pm

Campfire Session: Meet & Greet with Billy Hoekman   


11:30 – 12:00 noon    

Campfire Session: Addressing the Needs of Aging Pets
Greg Tilford, CEO, Animal Essentials, Inc


Without a doubt, pet owners are becoming better informed about preventable animal health issues, and with the feeding of good natural foods, a healthy living environment, and proper supplementation companion animals are living healthier, happier, longer lives than ever before.  But with a growing plethora of product choices in the marketplace, it can be difficult to differentiate between hype and what an aging animal really needs.  During this discussion, we will identify key components of senior support for aging dogs and cats, and we will explore various supplements that can equate to greater vitality and a higher quality of life for “chronologically challenged” animals.  Topics will include:


  • Digestive supplements for senior animals.

  • Cognitive support.

  • The roles of herbs in an aging animal

  • Creaky joints, and how to get Rover up and running again.

  • The importance of Antioxidants


12:00 - 12:30 pm

Campfire Session: Working with Your Neighbors to Grow Your Customer Base

Kimberly Loper, Founder, Life is Grruff

Did you ever wonder how to get your business in front of new customers? No need to spend money on expensive advertising. Your next new customer could be a regular right next door at your neighbor’s business. In this campfire session, we will discuss how to use and work with existing businesses in your town/village to help grow your customer base.

  • Discover creative ways to work with businesses outside your industry

  • Understand how to pick the best businesses to work with to optimize your exposure

  • Create a network of business through social media to increase traffic flow to your town


12:30 – 1:00 pm  

Campfire Session: Benefits of Hemp (Phytocannabinoids, Terpenes, and More) for Pets
Julianna Carella, CEO & Founder, Treatibles

One of the hottest trends in pet health is cannabis and hemp-based cannabinoid remedies. Industry expert Julianna Carella will help guide you through the myths and facts, what to look for in a truly effective product, and how to educate your staff and customers.

  • Learn how phytocannabinoids effectively help pets with anxiety, arthritis, pain, seizures, cancer, inappetence, end of life comfort, and more

  • Discover the differences between hemp-sourced and cannabis-sourced phytocannabinoids

  • Understand why a quantified milligram count of phytocannabinoids in each product serving is important for pets – and your business


1:00 - 1:30 pm           

Campfire Session: Pricing for Profit - Retail Strategies & Pricing Models to Maximize Every Transaction

Candace D'Agnolo, Business Consultant & Founder, Pet Boss Nation


You know your rent, your monthly payroll and maybe even your electric bill off the top of your head, but if you are maximizing your initial mark up or paying close attention to certain strategies, you’re letting money walk out the door. In this session, you will learn some pricing techniques to maximize profit potential and we'll review strategies to increase sales without spending anything on advertising!


  • Understand the psychology of pricing

  • Discover the importance of conversion

  • Improve and Maximize your average sale











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For more information contact Laura Ames   Phone: 781-603-6965 - Email:

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