The 'Minus the hassle' pet retailer welcomed 32 new franchisees to its system this year, accounting for 53 of the 81 new units sold. Additionally, 11 existing Pet Supplies Plus franchisees reinvested in the business and agreed to build 27 more stores across the country.
States where agreements were signed in 2019 include Texas, New York, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota and California. In fact, the South Dakota and Nevada agreements are brand milestones as the stores will be the first Pet Supplies Plus locations in those states.
"It's incredibly gratifying to see new franchisees and existing owners continue to invest in our brand," said Pet Supplies Plus CEO Chris Rowland. "Coming into the year, we thought we set a lofty-but-attainable unit-growth goal for our system, and we surpassed that number by 30 stores. It's validation that our candidates and current franchisees believe in the value we provide neighbors and their pets."
A key driver in surpassing the franchise's projected growth is the ongoing success of converting independent pet store retailers into independently-owned and operated Pet Supplies Plus franchise owners. America's favorite neighborhood pet store signed two conversions in Florida this year with one already opened. Additionally, the franchise is in the process of converting six stores, all under the same ownership, in upper New York State.
Independent pet retailers know more than anyone in the industry about the pressures of e-commerce and the negative affect it's having on their purchasing power. This reality has resulted in once-exclusive pet products no longer being available to them and the consolidation of brands within the pet retail industry. That's why Pet Supplies Plus focuses on helping existing, independent pet retailers and small pet retail chains stay competitive by partnering with them.
These retailers make great franchisees because they're already passionate about the neighbors and their pets, and they're accustomed to providing high-touch, convenient service. This combined with the purchasing power, merchandising, marketing, supply chain logistics and other 'back room' duties provided by Pet Supplies Plus makes for a winning combination.
Additionally, Pet Supplies Plus offers You Click. We Fetch™, an order-online and pickup in-store program that combines its personal-neighbor experience with the convenience of e-commerce. This omni-channel service allows neighbors to shop with their neighborhood Pet Supplies Plus how and when they want. Pet Supplies Plus is also developing You Click. We Fetch, a buy online and deliver-from-store program for 2020.
Independent pet retailers, existing franchisees and first-time business owners see there is an identifiable path to success with Pet Supplies Plus, given its best-in-class corporate support, competitive AUV average and nation-wide recognition. Most importantly, franchisees are able to focus on doing what they love and loving what they do.
"We're leaders in this space because we created a neighbor-centric culture around people with an unparalleled passion for pets. Prospects are excited to join our franchise because they understand we 'Minus the hassle' for them. We take care of the labor-intensive, back-room duties which gives them the opportunity to interact with neighbors and their pets, build strong sales teams and connect with their local community. That's why they got into the pet business in the first place, and we're excited and proud to give them that experience."