Inside SuperZoo 2016
A visit to “SuperZoo,” a pet products show for retailers, reveals just how enormous the pet industry is.
I recently spent three days at SuperZoo, one of this country’s largest annual trade shows for pet product retailers. At the end of each day, my feet and back were sore, and I was mentally exhausted – and yet, so happy to be among our people – you know, obsessed, dedicated, creative, passionate, knowledgeable dog people!
I know this photo is small, and a lot of detail can’t be seen, but you don’t really need to see the details to appreciate the size of the show. The fine print at the bottom is a list of all the pet product companies who were there to promote products to owners and managers of pet supply stores and grooming shops; the map shows where they could be found on the Las Vegas convention hall floor.
For three days, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (well, 3 p.m. on the third day; the show closed early on the last day), I walked up and down the aisles, stopping briefly at booths that had products that I thought WDJ readers might be interested in: food, of course, but also gear for the training, health maintenance, and comfort of our beloved dogs. I picked up catalogs and fliers that described new products, I had ever-so-brief conversations with the company representatives in about a quarter of the booths I visited . . . and in the final minutes of the show, I discovered (to my dismay) that there were still aisles I hadn’t explored.
As fun and interesting as it might have been, I didn’t have time to have in-depth meetings with representatives of pet food companies or gear makers; as it was, I barely had time to hear the briefest of presentations about their newest products! And oh my dog, I’m not even counting the hundreds of booths I that walked right by – not to be rude, but because they were selling stuff that we don’t talk about in WDJ very much: costumes and “dress up” clothes for dogs, gifts and housewares, including dog-themed art, dishes, blankets, apparel, magnets . . . you name it. Some of it was nice! But there just wasn’t time, and besides, it’s not stuff that you need our help to evaluate.
Anyway, suffice to say, I’m prepared to really boost our offering of product reviews in many, many categories, and I have dozens of cool new products to feature in our annual “Gear of the Year” article in January...if I can wait that long!