Kim Matsko, owner of Natural Pet Essentials in Charlottesville, Va., reports that raw beef patties are the store’s No. 1 seller and she thinks raw sales will only grow.
Pet Products News: What are the best-selling products in your store right now?
Kim Matsko: Primal Raw Beef Patties are the #1 seller in our store, along with Fromm Family Foods, for dogs and cats, canned and dry. Weruva Press Your Lunch! chat boxes do just fine. All the treats in our bulk/raw bar, whether it’s a Stash Bully Stick or a Vital Essentials Duck Neck or a Summit Dog Chew. Additionally, the 2 Hounds Design Freedom harnesses are extremely popular. We have many excellent trainers in our area who recommend these harnesses and refer customers to our store to purchase them. Finally, Answers Raw Goat Milk is a fantastic product that is doing very well.
PPN: What are your favorite products at the moment?
Matsko: Oh my God…so many great products that I love. I barely know where to start. Hyper Pet LickiMats is definitely one of my favorites. I also really like the Stella & Chewy Hip & Joint Hemp Oil Extra Chews. I have a small mix of rescue dachshunds with a sore back and neck, and if she could she would do some back flips for those. SmallBatch raw is also a personal favorite as I really appreciate their efforts to ensure their products are responsibly sourced.
PPN: What industry trends have you watched most closely?
Matsko: Obviously the canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) debate. This unfortunately impacted small retailers and my business in a way that I have never experienced before. But I always keep my eyes and ears open to industry trends and look for ways to improve and innovate.
PPN: What business challenge are you currently facing?
Matsko: Making the most of the space available in my store. I constantly move products and displays around to better showcase my offerings and provide all the items my customers are looking for.
PPN: What business goal do you hope to achieve in 2020?
Matsko: Add more freezers and more raw materials! Improve and update my digital footprint. Going back to my roots and offering some of the great events I used to organize in the beginning. I’m also working on a special project that I want to launch in the local community this year, but I’m keeping it a secret until some details are ironed out.
PPN: What is your best tip for connecting with customers?
Matsko: Willingness to work with them in the way that suits them best. Listen to them and ask questions. But also, just being real. Have real conversations with people about real life. We are extremely close with many of our customers. It’s like an extended family.
Check out Natural Pet Essentials in our gallery below.