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SuperZoo: No Dog and Pony Show

by Danelle Dodds

North America’s single largest pet industry marketplace will open its dog gates and critter cages to an estimated 10,000 of their closest human friends on August 23 through 25 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

With an attendee audience comprised of trade-only professionals (and some wagging tails), this long-running show keeps the focus on pre-qualified buyers, which means no general public. This allows business and networking opportunities to bloom specifically among key decision makers in the domesticated animal retail industry.

It’s easy to see why the SuperZoo’s annual migration to Las Vegas is one met with excitement. “We are counting down the days until the pet industry gathers again in Las Vegas at SuperZoo for what is certain to be the industry’s most dynamic and productive event of the year,” says Vic Mason, president of WPA. “With nearly 1,000 exhibitors, 70 expert-led educational seminars and nine grooming contests, the 2022 show truly has something for everyone in the industry.”

The business done on this show floor is staggering. According to SuperZoo numbers, 94 percent of qualified attendees are purchasing or plan to purchase while at the show. That’s a huge bump in a potential pipeline for business owners.

A brainchild of the World Pet Association (WPA), SuperZoo started in the 1950s in San Francisco. There, under the banner of “Animal Crackers, Inc.”, the first ever tradeshow benefiting pet supply manufactures and wholesalers met to sniff out further business connections. It was so successful that the show continued to grow and evolve until it became the SuperZoo we know today.

Constantly alert for ensuring the most engagement for their exhibitors and attendees, WPA moved SuperZoo’s perch to Las Vegas in 2004. This allowed more national and international buyers access to the latest trends and products on the market. The move eventually swelled the show to the 300,000 square-foot floor of relevant suppliers we are now familiar with. No wonder 10,000 serious attendees flock to it annually.

And this year makes way for a schedule even the most discerning bird couldn’t turn away from. The 2022 plan is bursting with a plumage of vibrant programming and offerings. From emerging products to deeply educational panels to long-beloved showcases, the three days will provide the most impressive display.

It would be impossible to touch on every feather but a few of the highlights coming to roost will be:

Stocked Show Floor:

There’s a lot you can fit in almost seven football fields worth of space. With more than 1,000 exhibitors, it may feel intimidating. But like a lovable Great Dane, the print size can be massive but at its core, is totally approachable.

Thoughtfully laid out, the show floor will be a breeze for attendees to tame. Specialty areas will group exhibitors into one of five breeds: Natural and Health; Specialty and Lifestyle; Farm and Feed, Aquatics, Reptiles and Small Animals; and Groomer’s Marketplace.

It’s important to note that the show floor is specifically curated for the most impactful of experiences. Whether it’s from the hand-selection of start-ups or the concurrent “best-in-show” prizes, the overall take-away promises a focused and rewarding few days.

Emerging Brands:

This is where new trends come to hatch. Featuring startups that are hand-selected, this area offers the warm glow of a spotlight for their grand debut. Expect to see the industry’s very best of new innovators and entrepreneurs. There will be some interesting offerings, including Ziggy Marley’s Apawthecary by One Farm, a product line of superfood pet remedies infused with CBD. Or Walkee Paws, the Shark Tank-featured dog boot leggings that keep pet paws protected.

New Product Showcase:

This is where new trends come to show off their brand-new wings. More than 700 debut pet products will be showcasing their newest items, each up for award consideration.

A panel of industry experts will be anointing first place and runner-up winners in 10 different product categories, including the top bragging rights: New-to-Market Pet Product winner.

Educational Sessions:

Another thoughtful move by show organizers was to make the robust educational sessions as streamlined and relevant as possible. Educational panels start on Monday before the show floor opens. This step allows attendees to maximize their schedule between the over 70-expert led education sessions and doing business on the show floor.

The panels will be split between two tracks: Retail and Grooming. Attendees can choose one or both and sessions will run through Tuesday. In addition, free show floor talks will be taking place in Booth #5725.

And as an added bonus, SuperZoo will also offer educational sessions for groomers to help them prep for the Professional Grooming Credential (PGC) exam.

Grooming Showcase

Speaking of grooming, the beloved Grooming Content returns. This showcase is likely one of the most photo-worthy highlights of the show. Over the three days, mind-blowingly talented pet stylists will coif and groom in myriad contests. $35,000 in winnings will be rewarded to professional stylists that leave their memorable mark in contests like the Super Jackpot, Wahl Clipper Classic, or the ever-popular Creative Styling Competition. Expect to have your reality challenged when you see canines chameleon into flowers, lions, or elaborate landscapes, under the talented shears of pet styling artists.

SuperZoo Beach Party

The convention’s pinnacle will culminate under the stars with a networking Beach Party at Mandalay Bay Beach on Wednesday, August 24. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will flow over a background of music, providing easy opportunities for casual yet fun engagement.

WPA Good Works Program

And if all the above isn’t enough to showcase the dedication to the pet industry, involvement with SuperZoo – or one of WPA’s signature shows – also further invests in the future of pet health and well-being. WPA has a full stable of shows that contribute to the industry and various animal non-profits through the WPA Good Works program. In addition to SuperZoo, Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference, Aquatic Experience and America’s Family Pet Expo have helped the Good Works program infuse more than $6 million back into the industry over the last ten years.

For those committed to the health and wellness of both animals and their related professions, SuperZoo is no dog-and-pony show. It continues to be one of the most productive and successful watering holes for next year’s pet retail pipeline.

For those who support the shows, it provides a welcome ark of opportunity in various communities across the nation.

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