This post is sponsored by Homes Alive Pets. I am being compensated to help share information about their store. We will only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Homes Alive Pets is not responsible for the content of this article(except their interview answers).
Today we caught up with Evan Ropp; one of the co-owners of Homes Alive Pets located just south of us in Edmonton, AB and also Lethbridge, AB for a little Q & A about their wonderful pet store. Their business Homes Alive Pets has been open for 8 years but their family pet store business was started back in 1974 that went by the name of Ropp’s Pet & Hobby located in Brooks, AB. Not only do they carry products for dogs & cats but also fish, birds, reptiles and small animals! If you head on over to their Facebook page (link below) you can see what people love Homes Alive Pets, their reviews are awesome!
Above Photo Credits: http://www.facebook.com/homesalivepets
As part of this post, Rolo also got to sample a few of the products they sell in store! (lucky boy!) But before we get into the Q&A section, I wanted to chat a little about their website first. As I know many of our readers are in Edmonton & all over Alberta, but we also have a lot who aren’t. Guess what! Homes Alive Pets ships products directly to you! Who doesn’t enjoy shopping from the comfort of their own homes in the pj’s! I do, I do! Not to mention their website is so user-friendly and each product on the site is so well described down to the; is the product suitable for animals with allergies? big animals? older animals? do the bully sticks have an odour? This makes it so easy to pick out a product suitable to your animal. After the products you are looking for are added to your shopping cart you are able to put in your postal code and find out a shipping rate (there are a few different ones available). It’s so simple!
Come Connect with Homes Alive Pets;
And now let’s find out some more about Homes Alive Pets with our exclusive interview!
*Why was this business started?
My grandfather started in the pet industry back in the 70s because he started businesses around things that he was interested in. He had a zucchini farm, a tree farm, and he was very interested in birds. So, he started breeding birds. The pet and hobby store started out of their garage on the farm, and later opened in the Brooks Mall.
My father got into the business after returning with my family from Bolivia. He was in the grocery business before, but he burned out and wanted to give his family a different life experience and do something meaningful, so they worked at an orphanage in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. When he was in Bolivia, he started thinking about business again, but he wanted the business to stand for more than just profit. He wanted to create a business that created great jobs, that served the people, and that enhanced life. That has been the heart of Homes Alive, and our mission to this day is “Making Lives Better”
*What does this business specialize in?
Homes Alive Pets is a grocery store for pets. We don’t sell live animals, and we don’t have any grooming services, etc. We specialize in natural and quality pet supplies and nutrition. We believe that responsible pet ownership leads to better pet experiences, making the lives of both the pet and pet parents better. Many of the brands we carry are Canadian and American. <– Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/homesalive
*What makes your business different from other business’?
I think there are a few things that really set us apart, but perhaps list form is easiest to explain:
- We are family owned and operated – I don’t expect people to shop at our store because we are family owned and operated, and I don’t scream that from the mountaintops like many small businesses do, however, I do think it impacts our company culture. Homes Alive is a very positive environment, and I think there are major advantages for staff to feel like, “Hey, I have an idea, I’m going to go talk to the owner”.
- Our people – The number one compliment we get is that our staff are so helpful, or our staff are so knowledgeable. Customer service is another one of those things that we don’t scream from the mountaintops, mainly because I don’t decide whether our service is great, customers do. Our staff, however, are all exceptional employees that care about people, they care about pets, they care about our company, and I think that they are the best in the industry – and that sets us apart.
- Forward thinking – We are always thinking about new ideas and strategies to try. One of our values is “bravery” which basically means “don’t be afraid of failure”. Many of the things that are wildly successful within Homes Alive came from trying new things.
- Our model – I won’t get into this too much, but there aren’t any pet stores like Homes Alive. We are large like a big box store, so customers can expect selection and value, but we offer high quality products the customers expect from pet specialty and independent retailers. So rather than picking and choosing 10 skus out of 40, we’ll list all 40, and customers love the selection. Finally, we don’t pocket savings. If we get a deal from manufacturers, we pass those along to customers. It’s pretty normal for businesses in the industry to think, “oh, I can buy this food at $5 off from the manufacturer, so I can make an extra $5 per bag”. At Homes Alive we think, “oh, we gave give our customers a $5 coupon so they can save $5 on their food”.
I can talk all day about this, so I’ll keep it to four, but I think those are 4 big differences.
*What types of services do you offer?
Homes Alive doesn’t offer any services. We are not groomers, we are not trainers. Rather than compete with people who are great at what they do, we will stay in our lane and collaborate rather than try to compete.
*What is the business’ mission?
Our mission is, “Making Lives Better”. That includes making the lives better for our customers and their pets, the people we work with, our community, and if we do all of those well, our lives will be better in return. <– Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/homesalivepets
*What is the price range of your products?
That’s a tricky question. I won’t say that we are a price proposition, and what I mean by that is that you won’t find a cheap 30lb bag of grocery food at our store for $20. We are, however, a value proposition. You will find quality products for (very often) the best price.
*Where do you see this business in 5 years?
Our mission is to make lives better, and in 5 years, I dream of people knowing us more for the type of company we are than what we do. Let me explain. Retail is notorious for creating bad jobs. Pay people minimum wage, keep them under full-time hours (so you don’t have to pay benefits), use people for what they’re worth, and feed the bottom line. While I won’t deny that the bottom line matters (otherwise we couldn’t keep the lights on), a business is only as good as its people. We want to create opportunities for our staff to excel, to develop, to grow, to get benefits, etc.
So, where will we be in 5 years? I see us with more stores, and with a growing e-commerce business, but more importantly, I see us succeeding in really making lives better for our staff, for our customers, and for our community. Hopefully that is what people know about Homes Alive. I want people to say, “I shop at Homes Alive because they make life better”, not “I shop at Homes Alive because it’s the cheapest place to buy X” – although that’s probably true ;)
*What inspires you or the business?
I think I just answered this question above, but in a nutshell, I am inspired to create a business that people and other businesses can admire. There is a lot of negativity around businesses, and rightfully so. I want to show that you can build a business ethically, respectfully, with integrity, and qualitatively. It doesn’t have to serve some boss-man, it doesn’t have to serve some CEO that makes 300x what it’s employees do. For my brother an I, we are young, and we want to do what we love until we die – and we happen to love making lives better.
*Has this business won any awards?
Homes Alive has won Best of Edmonton and Best of Lethbridge awards, and we have also won the “Summit for Urban Strategies” Canadian Pet Retailer of the Year award.
*What do you plan to accomplish with your business in 2017?
We are still growing, and with growing comes growing pains. We will continually work on different ways that we can do what we do better. I can’t specify too much about business development, but I can speak to that fact that we are continually thinking about how we can grow qualitatively.
*Do you do any charity work? If so, what?
Making lives better includes our community. We work a lot with local shelters and rescues, which is a natural fit and they are obviously making lives better! We also support local youth programs, and an orphanage in Bolivia. I’m not too keen on saying “look at all of this good stuff we’re doing”, so we don’t promote our charity work, but it is very important to us. Well done is better than well said, right. (Kim & Rolo: I will add that during the evacuation of my entire city last year, Homes Alive Pets along with a few of their partners were able to donate a bags of dog or cat food to evacuees. Being a displaced resident, I know whoever was able to make it there was greatly touched by your offer and will not ever forget that you helped them. Thank you!)
Periscope, Twitter & Instagram: rescuemomblog