Paul Baumann, owner of All Paws Pet Center in Wichita, Kansas has grown his business from one store to three stores in five years—despite this difficult economy and having no retail background. Baumann is simply a pet lover with a desire for high-quality “Better and Best”” pet products. Prior to opening All Paws Pet Center, Mr. Baumann rescued a Lab/Beagle mutt that was sneezing, had a runny nose and eyes, and was constantly licking and chewing her paws. After changing nothing but the dog’s diet (by not feeding the dog anything containing wheat or other common allergens), the dog’s ailments disappeared.
People want to do what’s best for their pets. “I began researching pet foods and learned about optimum nutrition,” explains Baumann, “Like a lot of people, I thought I was doing what was best for my pets—feeding what I thought was good food—but wasn’t.” Knowing that there are a lot of people who wanted to make informed choices on what they fed their pets, Baumann realized his vision by opening his first pet supply and training center and his success has been multiplying!
Baumann explains, “We are a family owned pet store committed to providing the highest quality pet foods and supplies for the four-legged family members.” All Paws Pet Center’s knowledgeable and caring staff is dedicated to the well being of customers’ pets and offers frozen raw, natural, holistic, grain-free kibble, healthy treats, fun toys, bedding and pet apparel. In addition, obedience classes and a self-serve pet wash rounds out the business.
“We do not sell animals,” states Baumann. “We do however, promote and support local rescues and adoption with fund-raising benefits, such as Santa Paws photos. We also showcase dogs available for adoption in our stores and encourage customers to adopt.”
Know what you are. Know what you’re not. “We’re a lot like RFG,” continues Baumann. “We were recently voted Wichita’s’s Favorite Pet Store—just like RFG was recently named 2011 Distributor of the Year by PIDA. Arguably, we have the best staff in town—with the best selection and customers who regularly refer new customers.” Baumann also works closely with local veterinarians who refer customers who have pets requiring special diets.
“One day, I went to a large, national pet specialty store where their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness,” explains Baumann. I looked around for more than 20 minutes and no one said a word to me.” Dumfounded, I thought, ‘This is great!’ and walked out.” Baumann continues his story, “That’s exactly what we’re not. We make sure every customer is greeted and gets the attention they need and deserve. I’m very picky about who works here. I make my expectations clear that every customer is important—whether he is just in for samples or making a purchase that day.” Baumann continues, “It’s really, ‘Saving pets—one owner at a time,’ by educating customers to be able to make informed decisions and truly provide the best for their pets.”
All Paws Pet Center is opened Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. so that customers can shop when it’s convenient. To maintain his commitment to customer service, he added a partner to help manage the expanded business. Dave Lebus and his wife Pat, one of All Paws’ first customers and dedicated dog lovers joined the business in 2009. His wife Tammy left her career as a financial analyst to work full-time for the business in October. “Each store is managed by an ower which is very important,” says Baumann.
Advertise, advertise, advertise! Baumann’s business savvy extends to advertising and online promotion too. All Paws Pet Center advertises to draw customers into the store with benefit-driven TV commercials and direct mail. Baumann continues, “We have a great staff and low employee turnover. In addition, an informative website lists foods and supplies we sell, and also promotes the self-serve dog wash, training, dog apparel, pet photography and encourages adoption. All Paws Pet Center can be found on Facebook too. Baumann concludes, “Food is the engine that drives our business —and everything else strengthens the others.”
Buy from a supplier that operates like you do. “Steve Thoeny is in touch with what’s going on for product selection,” explains Baumann. “RFG offers great service and the truck delivers weekly. RFG is different, like us. RFG also offers a wide selection and focuses on high-end products, like we do.”