Canadian Pet Connection has always been an independent, family-owned business with a focus on selling premium-quality, Canadian brands. It began back in 1993 when founder Lorne Forder, frustrated with the lack of good quality pet food and supplements on the market, quit his job in the financial industry and opened his own pet store so that he could bring these products in himself. What began as a brick and mortar retail store in Oakville, ON, transitioned five years ago into a more e-commerce focused venture in the town of Meaford. “We saw that this was where the industry was going,” explains Angela Forder, Director of Marketing and E-Commerce. Despite having sold their original retail locations, as the locals came to know the company, things “snowballed” and Canadian Pet Connection now has their largest pet store ever in Meaford itself, with a pet health and wellness facility that includes doggy daycare, grooming, training and a large warehouse. “We kind of do everything,” says Angela. “We do our brick and mortar in-store sales, health and wellness consultations, veterinary distribution, wholesale distribution and e-commerce on multiple platforms as well.”
For the Forders, a focus on premium-quality products has always been a top priority. “We really wanted to focus on specializing in that one percent of the best quality brands in the market,” Brandon Forder, Vice-President of the company, explains. “We want to make sure that we’re supporting brands that can be trusted. Over the last almost thirty years we’ve developed a really good reputation of being able to create that trust with our customers - they have confidence in the brands that we’re recommending because of how selective we are. Once you develop that level of trust, that’s when you retain the generational customers.” Canadian Pet Connection prides themselves on working with smaller Canadian brands to help them grow; Smack Pet Food is one of those success stories. “We started selling Smack two or three years ago, and it’s one of our best-selling brands now,” says Angela. For the last three years, Smack has been the store’s number one overall rated pet food product.
When it comes to pet foods, Canadian Pet Connection is looking for minimal processing and whole, nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich ingredients wherever possible. “I think Smack embodies that really well,” says Brandon. “We’re finding more and more dogs and cats are having negative reactions to synthetics and all these highly processed foods, so when we look at our top 23 highest rated dog foods in Canada, the ones at the very top are all the ones that have the least amount of processing, the highest density of superfood ingredients. Smack really embodies all of those core criteria that we’re looking for.” Noting that it’s “almost unheard of” for them to receive any negative feedback from a customer about Smack, Brandon points out the versatility of the product - with uses ranging from frozen enrichment toys to high value rewards in dog training classes. “Smack is the food we recommend when people come in saying their dogs or cats won’t eat other foods. It does go over very, very well.”
As a leader in the Canadian online marketplace (they were recently awarded the Pet Product News award for growth and expansion), what’s next for Canadian Pet Connection? This year saw the launch of Harbour Hound Pet Distributing, providing distribution services of quality pet products in Canada, with a commitment to collaborating with small, local brands. “Canada has one of the most premium pet industries in the world, and there are such incredible brands and innovation in Canada. This is what we really wanted to do - to be able to promote small Canadian brands,” Angela explains. “It’s something that we’ve been working up to for several years. This is something we’ve been passionate about, and now we’re at the point where we can do it.”
Read more at www.canadianpetconnection.ca