By Richard N. Velotta
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Mandalay Bay may be the most pet-friendly resort in town this week.
That's because through Wednesday, SuperZoo — the most popular trade show for the pet store industry in North America — is in Las Vegas with more than 20,000 people at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
The show is an industry event and not open to the public.
Pet products have grown to a $60 billion-a-year industry and Doug Poindexter, president of the Monrovia, Calif.-based World Pet Association, producers of SuperZoo, said the three-day trade show has grown by double-digit percentages even through the recession.
That’s good for Southern Nevada as well as the pet industry and Poindexter said his association wants to lock in dates for shows here through 2020.
"Moving the show to Mandalay Bay was one of the best things we did because not only did the show grow during the down economy, but the quality of our exhibitors and programs improved as well," Poindexter said.
SuperZoo first came to Las Vegas in 2004, taking residence at Mandalay Bay a year later. It's been here annually ever since and is contracted through 2017.
This year's show covers more than 216,000 square feet with 983 exhibiting companies filling 2,170 booths. The association also has 51 leaders in the pet industry offering 84 educational sessions on everything from cat behavior to dog grooming.
The event has a showcase of new products on display, many with creative names like Fabuleash, Scaredy Cut and Wyld's Wingdom.
'A part of the family'
Poindexter attributes the rapid growth in pet products to the love owners lavish on their pets and the recognition of that by big-box stores that have tried to get a piece of the industry for themselves.
"Us humans have made pets a part of the family," he said. "As a result, there are thousands of entrepreneurial people developing products for pets. I'm always amazed by the new things I see on the show floor," he said.
"Add to that the interest that stores like Wal-Mart and Target have taken in the market. It's not just pet stores in the market these days," he said.
Among the innovative products on the show floor are Muffin's Halo, a product that prevents blind dogs from bumping into walls and hard surfaces.
Silvie Bordeaux, founder and inventor of Muffin’s Halo, developed the three-piece, lightweight wing and harness that holds a piece of vinyl tubing with velcro that redirects a dog from a wall collision.
Bordeaux developed the prototype for her 15-year-old toy poodle, Muffin, who developed cataracts and became immobile in blindness.
Bordeaux’s Santa Monica, Calif.-based company has donated some products to blind dogs in shelters to improve their chances for adoption.
"We say that it's a happy ending for blind dogs and gives them a new leash on life," she said.
The product sells for between $70 and $150, depending on the size of the dog.
A musical squeeze toy
Another new company introducing products at SuperZoo is the Celebrity Pet Toy Co., co-owned by sisters Carol Green Richardson, Rapid City, S.D., and Donna Heminger, Las Vegas.
Available online at Amazon.com and UnbeatableSale.com, the product is a squeeze toy, but instead of producing an annoying squeak, it emits music. Some versions have a record device that will allow the owner to deliver a 15-second message when the pet triggers the sound with a good squeeze.
The company has entered the political realm with "Bark for Hillary," "Bark'n for Bernie" and "GOP 2016" versions.
"There are just too many Republican candidates (for president) at this point," Richardson said. "I couldn't come up with anything specific for them yet."
The toys retail for about $5, with the recordable version at $10.
A new Las Vegas company also is exhibiting at the show.
Central Park Pups was showing The Hidden Harness, an easy-to-use step-in harness for dogs that is held in place with velcro and a plastic fastener.
Karine Ng, who calls herself the "paw-prietor" of Central Park Pups, recently moved to Las Vegas from New York, whose park inspired the company name.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.
May of the Golden Globes gifts I write about may seem a little, well, “girlie,” but make no mistake, there are plenty of items coming out of the Secret Room that intrigue men as well. I judge this by observing what has a gravitational pull on the boys in my life when they see me sorting through the items I bring home. I’m passing along their preferences to you, because they make great, unique gifts for the man (or dog) who has everything.
A gadget called the Waka Waka was so impressive Jim insisted on writing about it himself:
[Guide to Guys Golden Globes Gifts] Waka Waka means “shine-shine” in Swahili, and its producers invite you to “Share the sun.” This little device is an elegantly designed solar-powered charging system and light, not much bigger than a deck of cards, built to run for up to 80 hours on a single charge. It comes from a company that has embraced the one-for-you, one-for-people-in-need business model that has been so successfully implemented by companies like Toms and Warby Parker.
[Guide to Guys Golden Globes Gifts] Along with the usual ability to charge via USB cable, this multi-positional light houses its own solar panel for charging in sunlight, and therein lies its beauty. An excellent camping and emergency light for us, its nobler purpose is to shed reading and living light on the 20% of the world’s population without electricity. Imagine the change from kerosene and its inherent dangers, to a pure and steady LED light for a family to read and live by, safely extending extra hours of light into the evening.
Eco-packaged and built to last, the Waka Waka will also recharge your phone, and give you the opportunity to choose whom you’d like to share its twin with among communities in need around the world. It retails for $79.00.
[Guide to Guys Golden Globes Gifts] James was also intrigued by Edifier’s “Extreme Connect,” a compact, lightweight “sound box” that you can use as a speaker system for your iPhone, iPod, iPad, etc. It is BluTooth enabled, or you can load up a microSD card with your favorite music, and you’re good to go. You can even use it with your phone for teleconferences. It has up to 15 hours of battery life, and retails for $79.99.
[Guide to Guys Golden Globes Gifts] [Guide to Guys Golden Globes Gifts crumbzz] Then there’s the food. Smart purveyors of all sorts of delicacies are eager to introduce their products to the influential Golden Globes masses. Jennie and Vera’s Cookies contributed delicious shortbread sandwich cookies with caramel in the middle, that were so tasty we found ourselves playfully (or not so much) fighting over them. And that package of crumb cakes from Crumzz? They’re practically orgasmic. Thankfully, they’re so rich you can easily split one and be satisfied.
[Guide to Guys Golden Globes Gifts Frankie Feldman] And lastly, there’s the other guy in my house, Hollywood Hound Frankie Feldman. The Secret Room was not without gifts for him as well. He particularly loved the “iSing” pet toy, which allows you to record a message for your pooch, in my case it was “Hi Frankie! I love you!” And he can hear it replayed as he presses and plays with it. I’m not going to lie — it confused him a little at first, but once he figured it out, he gave it two paws up. You can get one of your own for about $9.95 online.
[Guys Golden Globes Gifts] [Guys Golden Globes Gifts] This just in! Jim has permitted me to reveal two other products that he’s quite taken with. They are, ahem, skin products. Since he’s been shooting a video about getting into voiceover and seen himself on camera a lot of late, he’s suddenly become more aware of his skin. So the Collaboost-1,3 skin firming creme from Elysee Scientific Cosmetics that promises to optimize elasticity and firmness quite appealed to him. It retails for $72 on their website. And since washing off makeup is a new part of his routine, he was quick to start using Derma e‘s new Purifying Daily Detox Scrub ,which contains activated charcoal that actually absorbs and washes away toxins. It’s currently selling online for $13.95, and you get free shipping.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “No one can a resist a great jar of face cream.”
VetStreet's training expert Mikkel Becker stops by our booth at Global Pet Expo. She loves our toys!
I received your wonderful LADY GRR GRR CELEBRITY PET TOY in my gift bag from the Secret Room Gift Suite for the Golden Globes! Thank you so much!! I love it!
THANK YOU!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!