We interrupt this road trip travel coverage to bring you highlights from SuperZoo 2016.
Yes, SuperZoo, the World Pet Association’s mega pet industry trade show held annually in Las Vegas. This year more than 1200 exhibitors participated, and if you doubt the growth, size and even influence of the pet industry in North America, spend two days walking and talking the 8,5000 square feet of trade show floor and, after you collapse, your mind will be changed – and blown.
Here, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas and I plan to bring you insightful reviews and profiles of the intriguing pet products and people I met at SuperZoo August 2 to 4, 2016.
According to World Pet Association sources, more than 820 new products made a debut here. (Sorry, I don’t have pictures of them all). More than 90 pet industry educational seminars ranging in topics from marketing, dog grooming and retail management rolled out at the show.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson played the position as celebrity keynote speaker holding court with steadfast inspirational advice such as, “If you aren’t winning. Put the time in and work on your craft.”
Closer to the holiday season, I’ll focus specifically on pet travel products and mix in some individual product review too. For now, here are a few charming idiosyncrasies of SuperZoo 2016:
- Clever exhibition booths. I love Kurgo pet products and particularly loved its creative retro outdoor-themed display intended to draw attention to a series of new retro-themed dog toys. Think rubber lawn darts (“doggie darts”), backyard birdies, huck-it horseshoes, and target jacks.
- Awesome pets. Although this is not a ‘pet-friendly’ event, a few ambassadors and buddies crawled through the doors. I asked this little girl what breed her dog was – lion? And she said, “yes.”
- Brand Ambassadors. Meet Lucy from The Lucy Pet Foundation, a non-profit organization inventing new pet products such as Berry Berry Smellicious Tropical Leave-in Grooming Conditioning Spray for Dogs and channeling the profits back into community pet projects such as a mobile free spay and neuter clinic in California. Watch for more about that soon.
- Celebrities! I met Stella from T.V.’s Modern Family. (Admit it, she’s your favourite character and makes Jay more likable). Her real name is Beatrice. She’s totally charming and her trainer/mom loves her and has stories to tell – featuring soon on dogtrotting.net, of course.
- More Celebrities! I met Miranda Lambert. No, I didn’t. I just saw this poster of her along with samples of her line of Country and Western pet gear she’s launching this fall under the brand name Mutt Nation.
- Social Media Celebrities. Preston, from PrestonSpeaks.com, loved, loved, loved Tuggo toys. The company launched a bowling ball pin-shaped chew toy to go along with its bowling ball story (read it here).
- Youthful Entrepreneurs. Jennifer Ull Marucus from Golden Doodle Goods, a Lifestyle Brand for Dog Lovers, shows off the company’s assorted graphic stickers and prints, many of which adorn its t-shirt selection.
- Take a seat. You’ll need to rest during the show, but not before the dog does. The Carolina Pet Company has teamed up with the iconic Pendleton Woolen Mills company to produce a series of dog beds, collars, leads, and jackets inspired by Pendleton’s National Parks blanket print series. As a Canadian though, I particularly loved this recognizable Canuck pattern. (Hint for non-Canadians: think Hudson Bay Company). But they call it the Orvis Glacier National Park pattern.
- Be careful when you take a seat. This is SuperZoo after all, and it’s about ALL pets, not just canines. So if you drop on a bench to take a rest, you might be sharing it with a fellow like this one. Yes, he’s real and yes, he’s on a bench.
- Humour, Humour, Humour. (I spelt it correctly. See #9). I don’t envy the upcoming American election, but I did get a kick out of these Metro Paws ‘Smear Campaign’ doggie poop bags in red or blue. Pick your face – Trump or Hilary. It’s likely no surprise, I took home Trump, but declined Hilary. She’s my girl. Well, would be if I could vote here. For now, I’ll stick with Trudeau (sans poop bag).