Natural pet food and supply store Protein for Pets opens its first San Diego County location in Rancho San Diego
A pet supply store designed for the consumer, not the manufacturer. That is the philosophy of Protein for Pets as it recently opened its doors in Rancho San Diego on Dec. 18. It is the first in San Diego County for Founder and CEO Marco Giannini, but it is his eighth store since March 2014 with plans for many more locations between Santa Barbara and the border. Giannini said the next few stores would open up in the San Diego County in the first few months of this year.
Giannini is not new to the pet supply industry. He founded a pet supply store, sold it, and then still ran it as CEO before he left in 2014.
“I found a real need for better retail experiences for consumer behaviors,” he said. “When you walk into a pet retail store it is broken up into brand instead of by protein type or by need.”
Giannini said that when shopping at a grocery store people do not shop for brands, they shop for what they need for the week. In major retail pet stores, everything is brand blocked. This is one of the main differences in shopping at Protein for Pets, as its makeup is set up much like a grocery store, divided into protein groups. So the food needed is stocked by protein content. Beef, lamb, fish, poultry, exotics (bison, venison, elk, kangaroo, rabbit) with assortments of more than 100 natural formulas of high-quality dry, raw and wet food products, and alternative food sections (add water) guide the display of the food. He said exotics have grown tremendously giving people alternative healthy choices for their pets.
“For example if a customer brings a dog in with allergies or itchy paws they probably can’t use poultry products,” he said. “They need meat products or exotics. So we have meat sections that don’t have any poultry in it. None of the products in our store have wheat, corn, soy or animal byproduct meal.”
He said it all depends on what the consumer’s pet’s needs are. That is why he believes that there is a problem in the way major retail pet supplies are displayed. “They’re not very consumer friendly, they are more manufacturer friendly,” he said.
That is why Protein for Pets has a fish, poultry, meat, and exotic section for adults, small breed, weight management, large breed, puppy and senior sections along with freezer sections divided by protein type. Giannini said he knows of no other pet store in America that blocks its merchandise by protein type and need versus manufacturer. Merchandise is sorted by price in each section with the least expensive in the front and the most expensive in the back. With his lower overhead, he said Protein for Pets is putting the prices of Costco into the setting of a small community retail store.
And community is important to him and his wife and co-owner Berenice. Since its opening and through the month of March for every customer that mentions either Rancho San Diego Elementary or Vista Grande Elementary School, Protein for Pets will donate five percent of purchases back to the school, matching the donation at $500. Giannini said this is standard for all of his stores, and giving back to the community will not stop in March, but be a continuing effort in all of his stores in giving back to the community it serves.
“It is important not only provide needs for their pets, but the needs of the community,” he said.
Protein for Pets is located at 2654 Jamacha Road, Suite 205 at the Ralphs Shopping Center.