MARCH 2018 • ;;; • petbusiness.com
“There are many long-term people employed at CountryMax
that have had a huge part in the operations and the growth of
the current business. They are the only reason CountryMax
has been able to survive and grow over the years.”
Having employees who provide optimal service can be
especially crucial in a store that sells live animals. Staff
members need to be trained to properly handle and care for
these animals before they arrive at their forever homes.
“There’s an inherent risk associated with having live animals
in your store, because if something goes wrong it’s not just a
bag of feed or a product on the shelf,” says Brad Payne. “We
are confident in our people and in our methods though.”
CountryMax’s employees are also essential in selecting the
merchandise sold at the stores. They take a highly personal
approach in making sure CountryMax has the right products
for pet owners by asking questions like “Would I feed my dog
that?” or “Would I let him play with that?” They apply similar
questions when assessing products for other animals like cats,
lizards and fish.
“Our buying group has a diverse spread of pets in our homes,
and we always give it the most important ‘sniff’ test—Would I
use this with my pet?” explains Brad Payne.
CountryMax’s stamp of appproval has been given to pet
products that range from aquarium supplies to dog treadmills.
This variety has earned the retailer a base of loyal customers.
With 16 locations already under its belt, CountryMax plans
to continue thriving and expanding. Though adding on more
stores may seem like a daunting task, CountryMax is up to the
“Our multiple locations give us enough size and scale to bring
the notice of a multitude of manufacturers and suppliers in the
pet supply business,” says Don Payne. “Our plan is to continue
our physical store growth and development along with pushing
as far as we can into the online business. We currently have plans in the works
for additional physical store locations and will continue to look for more viable
locations for future growth.”
With a decorated reputation founded on premium customer service, a
comprehensive product selection and a distinct store aesthetic, CountryMax
gives little reason to doubt its continued success both in brick-and-mortar and
online retail. PB
programs for specific product
categories, several locations offer a
self-serve dog wash station and host
VIP Petcare Clinics. CountryMax
works to connect with customers
through sales circulars, store Facebook
pages and an email newsletter.
According to Payne, “The customer
engagement side of things both in and
out of the stores is a never-ending
quest. If there’s an avenue to reach
customers that is out there, we’ll give
it a go.”
CountryMax maintains a strong
online presence that includes an
extensive website where customers
can view and even purchase products.
It features a forum called AskMax!,
where people can submit questions
about pet care and products.
“Many customers use the web
as research before they head into
a store, and it’s important to have
a great representation online of the
products that customers will find in
a CountryMax store,” says Payne.
“Customers don’t like surprises, and a
lot of times, it’s tough to say, ‘Oh we
have that product, but you can’t see it
until you’ve driven here to see it.’ It’s
just not how the world works anymore,
and we identified that very early on.”
Even though CountryMax continues
to develop its online sales, nothing is more important
to the retailer’s success than the more than 300
employees running its brick-and-mortar stores.
Don Payne, CountryMax’s vice president, explains
that the retailer has been able “to build a strong
structure of support coming from a large number of
very important employees.”
than the more