Today seems like a great time to take a break from talking about business and focus on what’s most important of all – family and loved ones. My youngest grandchild, Clare, just celebrated her first birthday. As you might imagine, this photo is a picture of the birthday girl celebrating with a big piece of chocolate cake. Pat and I have been blessed and absolutely love being grandparents. We take full advantage of being able to spoil our grandkids without any of the parenting consequences that follow! Having a family is the greatest blessing, and we are thankful to no end. Happy Birthday, Clare!
I just came across an interesting article involving a very dedicated pet retailer. A pet store owner from Washington recently spent a month eating nothing but pet food from her own store shelves. On the surface, the mere thought of eating pet food may be too much for some people to stomach. However, if you take a closer look at some of the products that are available today, it might not seem so crazy. As the store owner pointed out in an interview, she quickly realized that many of the ingredient panels on the premium products she carries in her store read much healthier than a lot of the packages we encounter each day in the human food aisles of the grocery store.
While there are probably not too many doctors or nutritionists who would advise a diet of pet food (I don’t recommend it, for the record), the retailer’s experiment says a lot. Years ago, no one in their right mind would have considered eating the types of pet food that were available. As time has passed, however, pet nutrition has evolved. There are more premium, healthy options available than ever. More companies are committed to using organic and human grade ingredients. At Oxbow, we have been committed to using the highest quality ingredients from the beginning. The more healthy options available, the more pets benefit in the long run.
You probably won’t find me eating rabbit food for dinner, but it’s nice to know that today’s pets are able to enjoy the high quality nutrition they deserve.
Our little town does a great job celebrating the 4th of July. For a town of only 267 people, Murdock is able to put on a great celebration year after year. Each year, myself, my wife, and the employees of Oxbow put together a float for the annual parade. It’s a fun tradition that I always look forward to, and this year was no exception.
Independence Day is special for obvious reasons, but my 4th was particularly meaningful this year. The reason for my special excitement was that all of Pat’s and my grandchildren were in town and able to ride on the Oxbow float. I think I speak for all grandparents when I say that there’s a special warmth and joy involved when you’re able to have all of your grandkids together.
Here’s a photo of the 2014 Oxbow float. I wish I could say that I had something to do with the cuteness of our grandkids, but I know you wouldn’t believe that for a second.
I hope you all had a safe and wonderful Independence Day!
As I mentioned in my post from last week, the Oxbow team has been in Germany over the past days attending the InterZoo trade show and host the first ever Oxbow International Distributor Summit. Pat and I were the host couple in a special wedding this previous weekend and could not make the trip, but I was happy to receive some updates from the crew. Here’s what they report:
-The small animal community is definitely continuing to grow. Most of the large EU stores stopped by the Oxbow booth interested in expanding their small animal section.
-The team was able to have meetings with many of Oxbow’s international partners while at Interzoo.
-The crew met Oxbow’s new Hungarian distributor for the first time at the show.
-The Oxbow International Distributor Summit had a strong turnout – distributors from the UK, Norway, Hungary, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden were all in attendance. It was so neat to have so many partners together and to come together as an Oxbow family. The day went far too fast and there was much more that we would have loved to discuss, but it was a good start for our first event. Plus, our distributor partners enjoyed building personal relationships and learning from other partners.
It’s always wonderful to receive positive reports after trade events, but I was especially happy to hear about the success of the distributor event. As I mentioned last time, Oxbow has come a long way since 1999, when our first ever international shipment left the farm. Now serving pets all over the world, we are so excited to see what the future holds!
As I type this, members of the Oxbow team are en route to Nuremberg, Germany where they will be attending InterZoo – the world’s largest pet trade show. In 2012, InterZoo featured over 1,500 exhibitors and nearly 37,000 visitors from 111 countries. The success and scope of the InterZoo show are both testaments to the health of the pet industry. We feel very honored to count ourselves among the regular contributors at InterZoo.
The history of Oxbow’s international business dates back to 1999 when we shipped our first ever international container to Japan (photo of this container pictured above). At that time, I could have never anticipated the rapid growth and trajectory of our international business. Today, we sell our products in nearly 30 countries all over the world. To borrow a phrase from Dr. Kohles, it means so much to know that what we do on our gravel road in rural Nebraska has the ability to positively affect the lives of pets worldwide.
This year’s trip to InterZoo will feature an exciting new Oxbow event. Following the show, the Oxbow team will be hosting a special training event for many of our international partners. This event will be modeled after our long-running Oxbow “Bunny Boot Camp” which takes place each year at Oxbow. During the training, our partners will learn all about Oxbow, get a sneak peek at new and upcoming products, share feedback during roundtable discussions, and more. We are excited to host this event, as we know it will only serve to strengthen our relationship with the international market.
Best wishes to the Oxbow team and all of this year’s InterZoo visitors and exhibitors. I wish I could be there, but I know you’ll all do great!