It's not just the stock market that's being affected by the coronavirus. Close sources are telling me that trade and consumer shows over all categories are being postponed or cancelled. When I left for the Global Pet Expo (GPE) on February 25th, I had no reservations whatsoever about attending the show. I did notice quite a few booths with signs saying they were forced to cancel due to concerns about the virus. This wasn't a surprise. To the novice attendee the show may have seemed busy but veterans of GPE could tell the traffic was off. Various reports are now saying that attendance was down 30% and the news of the virus spreading had just begun.
Fast forward 1 week later to the Long Island Pet Expo. I'm a little more nervous but decide I'm being paranoid and head off to Brentwood, New York. The doors swing open at 10 a.m. and the crowd of folks and their pets that are usually waiting to get in were nowhere in sight. (Rut Roh!) It seemed many people were opting for self-quarantine to try and avoid the dreaded coronavirus. Again, this wasn't a surprise. There had been many more cases reported soon after the testing facilities had the proper resources. I judged that people were being over-cautious. I will say that the attendance did pick up in the afternoon, but in my experience at consumer pet expos there is always a rush in the morning but that never materialized. As I write this blog-post the World Health Organization just declared the coronavirus as pandemic. I'm starting to re-think things a little, lol.
Well, that was the bad news. On to the good news. GPE is like a pet industry summer camp reunion. It was great getting re-acquainted with quite a few influencers, industry notables and companies that I've worked with in the past who love www.dogdadapproved.com and the concept of the Dogdad Approved Road Show.
As far as trend-tracking is concerned there appeared to be a thinning out of the herd with regard to CBD vendors. This could have been coronavirus related but my hopes are that this sector of the business is settling down from the Wild West Show we saw at Super Zoo. As far as dog-food goes, the topic of grains vs. raw continues to be discussed. I did notice quite a few companies promoting the use of ancients grains that I can't recall seeing used before. The latest celebrity to lend his name to animal feed products is Dr. Jan Pol from the NatGeo TV series, The Incredible Dr. Pol. We had a chance to speak with Dr. Pol and he is every bit of the guy you see on TV, energetic, witty and charming and his family is very nice as well. It's hard to believe he's 77.
My keen Dogdad senses detected that this year, treats were all the rage at GPE. Yes I'm aware that dog treats are not a new product but it seemed to me that GPE was bloated with treat vendors. Less is still more in this category when it comes to pet parents and that's why manufacturers are trying to limit the amount of ingredients in their treats. The variety of offerings included "head to toe" animal treats like beef tracheas and esophagi, some goodies made with a variety of single proteins including crickets as well as some that included proactive ingredients like collagen and olive oil. There were also a considerable amount of companies with freeze-dried proteins which have become popular pet treats since they are low in fat and usually have no other preservatives. Now more than ever, pet parents need to do their homework and know their dog's habits. My personal faves were the treats that had pastrami in them. Call it a guilty pleasure, but they looked like they'd make a nice nosh!
As for the Long Island Pet Expo, yes it was slower than expected, but there were still plenty of doggy moms and dads that were eager to learn about better products for there pets. We met some really great pet parents from the NY metro area who were very serious about spoiling their furry kids, lol. We had local influencers stop by like Oreo and the Gang.
Even Curtis Sliwa, radio talk show host and founder of the Guardian Angels stopped in front of the Dogdad Approved booth to hold court. Earlier that day he announced his intention to run for Mayor of New York City. The Guardian Angels actually have an animal abuse division headed up by his wife.
We'll see you at the next and last stop of the the 2020 DDA Road Show, the World Dog Expo in Secaucus New Jersey, May 30th and 31st 2020 in Secaucus New Jersey. Hopefully by then this virus will be under control and things will get back to normal. Until then, stay healthy my friends!