American consumers spent more than $72 billion last year on their pets, buying them the toys, beds, balls and other items that they – and their owners, sometimes – can’t live without.
El Paso is home to two successful pet business that reach a worldwide audience. Happy Tails Products does all its business online, filling orders from a warehouse in El Paso.
Pet's Barn has been around since the 1940s, and now has more than 20 brick and mortar locations in Texas and New Mexico, as well as online sales. El Paso Inc. Magazine chatted with the two owners.
Owner: Randy Shapiro
Business: Happy Tails Products
When it began: 15 years
Why this business?
He had been in the consumer business right out or college. He saw the potential in the pet product business and went for it.
What does business sell? Pet beds, toys and treats
Most unusual products: Luxurious beds, and duck, bison and vegetarian treats
Newest product: K9 Planet, a subscription product. Pet owners receive a box each month filled with toys, treats and a surprise.
His pets: Five dogs - Annie, Buddy, Belle, Champ and Ruby. Three cats - Luna, Comet and Apollo
happytailspetproducts on Instagram
Owner: Dean Travis
Business: Pet’s Barn
When it began: The business got its start in 1947 as Valley Feed and Supply. Dean Travis got involved in the mid ‘70s.
Why this business? It was owned by his father. After selling a successful bee honey business, Dean decided to join his dad.
What does the business sell? Pet food and supplies
Locations: 13 in El Paso and Las Cruces, nine in San Antonio
Most unusual product: Customized pet food for an owner’s dog or cat. Formulated by an animal nutrition doctor based on age, digestive issues, allergies, sensitivities and taste. The formulas are stored on the company’s cloud-based system.
His pet: Johnny, a female dog
petsbarn on Instagram