One last thing though : I would like to remind all of you that I have said multiple times that I am looking into working with a rescue or shelter and adopting animals from the store. While I think that what we're doing now does improve conditions somewhat, I think in-store adoptions instead would be wonderful, better then what we're doing now, and I really hope I can make it work.
If we get that going, I'll be sure to post here and let you all know.
I understand the arguments that you are making, and they do appear to be altruistic. What appears to be lacking is your widening of the bigger picture.
Let's just say that your shop is the only business that your backstreet breeder has. If you don't have him supply you any more, he won't breed anymore. If Joe Bloggs petshop down the road has a unique supplier too, and he does the same to his supplier, he also won't breed anymore. Theoretically, they could be out of business if all shops did this.
If somebody comes into your shop, and there are no pigs for sale, you believe that they will go to Petsmart to buy one-not getting any advice at all about care. At least that way, you and your store have not willingly contributed to the overflowing population of Guinea Pigs. If you do care for animals as much as you say, you could give any askers the off-putting talk anyway-you can give care advice too? You can recommend a shelter to adopt. If they decide not to take your advice, well at least you tried and at least you haven't supported a breeding programme-no matter how good you feel it is.
I feel it takes small baby steps to make a full picture. Small stores such as yours could take the baby steps and become a supply store only. If one shop took that baby step every day, backstreet breeders would become almost non-existent. Maybe one day, the giants will follow?
- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2020
Cheshire Catfish, would you be comfortable making the same arguments if you substituted the words “cat” or “dog” for “guinea pig”? If you only support getting cats and dogs from shelters or rescues and not breeding them, I don’t see why it would be any different for guinea pigs.
I will clarify one thing about the small animals vs dogs/cats thing though, because it's a practical difference, not a philosophical one:
It's basically the size of the animals vs the space we have in the store. I think we can afford to provide proper housing for guinea pigs in our small shop, but we cannot provide a decent sized space for most dogs. Kittens are borderline... mostly we accept the unwanted kittens people bring because the "it's you or the pound" line tugs at the heartstrings, and they usually don't stay in the shop too long.
I think this would be my main question that went unanswered:
What focus groups, sales records, customer feedback, etc. do you have as proof that your small animals sales have totally detracted from PetSmart's, as opposed to independent sales, rather than it just being an optimistic thought?
I realize I didn't word it well, but I'm wondering what evidence there is that the store takes business from Petsmart? It isn't logical that it would do so.
Isn't basic economic theory that if you have two stores with similar products next to each other (Burger King/McDonalds), both stores benefit from increased profits? But I would think in this instance the smaller store would be suffering from the larger chain. Rather than the larger chain suffering from the smaller store.
It just seems like you might be looking at your store kind of how you want it to be, rather than in the larger scheme of the homeless animal population and basic economics. That is that your theories aren't substantiated.
I do not have concrete proof, and I never claimed to. If I did, I wouldn't be having the argument based on logic.
Like I said before though, you can just state "it isn't logical" as easily as I can state "it is logical." Both of us have presented arguments as to why we think it is or isn't logical, and neither of us is convinced. There's no point in continuing to re-hash what we've already said.
...especially since we both agree that 100% adoptions would be better anyway, which is the obvious goal to strive for.
ETA: and Table Mountain Animal Center in Golden, CO. They already do a foster program in Petsmart, which is probably difficult with the guinea pigs for sale right in the next aisle. You'd probably be a welcome outlet for them.
"Well, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley has a number of guinea pigs available for adoption. You could start by talking to them--you might even recognize some of your former inventory! I'm not sure how far away Aurora is, but there's a rescue there called Cavy Care Inc.."
I believe I've said 2 or 3 times that I'm not owner of the shop, and I don't have the power to make a final decision, but I am talking to the rescues and shelters in the area and like I said, I hope we will be able to work something out.
It's been pretty civil, all told. I think it will be great if your store transitions to featuring adoptable guinea pigs. You will probably find a whole new market patronizing your store. There are many people who buy supplies exclusively online so as not to patronize stores that sell animals. And supply-only pet stores are often community centers for animal lovers and rescue groups. Word spreads pretty quick.
- Supporter in '08
If you are using live animals to get people into your store (as you mentioned earlier) then providing great advice these customers then buy supplies too, become repeat customers, and then you turn a profit. Success!
But if you carried a small number of ONLY rescued shelter animals (and maybe unwanted CL animals) you could use that as your sticking point that really makes me choose your place over PetSmart.
Suggestions; Work with your local newspaper to run a story about how you are now against breeding. Have a huge banner in front of your store, contact a local news channel to advertise. Advertise on Petfinder, charge an "adoption fee" that you use to "adopt" more animals with. Your profit will be from all the people who want your animals but buy your supplies. Treat all piggies for mites and lice, make sure people know that PS carries infested pigs.
Make pre-made C&C cages for sale, buy various beds, hidey houses, cage blankets from GL member and sell them there. You will have one of a kind items and everyone wins. You will have a unique Pet Supply store/animal rescue center. Everyone wins especially the shelter animals that would otherwise be killed.
I never knew about the horrors of petstores before GL I bet there are tons of others like I used to be. Let them know why they shouldn't shop at PS and why they should shop at your place. Giving great advice only is not enough.
p.s. I work in marketing.
I knew that when I first posted in this thread. What I am is pleasantly surprised by how civil and thoughtful you've all been, even though you disagree with me. My estimation of this board and it's community is very high because of that.
"I think it will be great if your store transitions to featuring adoptable guinea pigs. You will probably find a whole new market patronizing your store."
I agree with that.
Those are some great marketing suggestions and I will look into them! Thanks for the advice.
Our main obstacle in getting rescues into the store, realistically, will be volunteer shortages. Because we're a small store, I expect some rescues will consider it not worthwhile to devote a full day of precious volunteer time. I hope I'm wrong about that, but we'll see.
I know my mom had talked to some dog rescue groups in the past, and that was the answer she got. I suspect that that's why she hasn't pursued it much. But, she is extremely busy just trying to keep the place open at all, and I wasn't really involved with the store until recently. I hope I can "donate" the time/patience necessary to work something out.
Very true! In fact, I'd just say that there's a serious problem with people not knowing the problems with Petsmart, period.
I've long since lost count of how many people I've had to re-educate about fish (I work in the aquarium section), after they've gotten all kinds of misinformation (and sick fish) at Petsmart.
Example- I get probably at least one customer a week that thinks that plecos ("suckerfish") eat the poop of other fish and don't need to be fed at all! It's crazy what they hear over there sometimes. I can't imagine their small animal advice is much better.