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Pet Food News / Pet Food Market Trends
on June 7, 2011

Tennessee, USA, holistic petfood retailer focuses on employee training, product quality

Hollywood Feed president says employee training, premium petfoods are what set the company apart

A Memphis, Tennessee, USA-based petfood retailer is growing fast, thanks to its emphasis on employee training and petfood product quality.

Hollywood Feed, a holistic petfood chain, was bought by investors in 2006 from previous owners, who called the chain Hollywood PetStar.

Hollywood Feed now has nearly 80 employees and all are required to participate in 40 hours of classroom training over a 12-to-18-month period, according to the company's president, Shawn McGhee. McGhee said the training takes places in the form of visits from veterinarians and nutritionists of petfood companies whose products are sold. He said that in addition, about half of the company's employees each year are flown out-of-state to one of two petfood research facilities, owned by Colgate-Palmolive's Hill's Science Diet, and Procter & Gamble's Iams and Eukanuba brands.

"It's a huge investment on our part that we make willingly and we think it's a differentiator," McGhee said.

Though Hollywood Feed spends more on training for its employees, it makes up the costs by having smaller stores, averaging about 3,250 square feet each, as well as by narrowing the focus to only dog and cat food and supplies, according to McGhee. He said the company's smaller stores work because they do not offer every petfood brand, instead Hollywood Feed sells holistic and lesser-known brands like family-owned, Fromm.

"We think we're the Whole Foods of the pet food industry," said McGhee. "When you look at commercially made pet foods, they have a lot of ingredients that don't quite make sense -- things that are in antifreeze. Typically they're there because there's nothing illegal and because they are cheaper."

Hollywood Feed currently has 10 stores in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, in addition to those in Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA; Ridgeland, Mississippi, USA; and Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

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