Marco Giannini and his wife Berenice, founders of Protein for Pets, say they don’t believe the world needs another brand of pet food but it most definitely needs a better way to shop for the thousands of foods that already exist. Their vision was to create a pet food store that sold affordable, all-natural foods that were organized by protein type instead of brand, and they did just that with Protein for Pets.
Marco’s passion for pet health started in 2003 when he launched his first company, Dogswell, which manufactures healthy pet foods and treats. The brand is carried by PetSmart, Petco, Safeway, and Target.
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He and his wife decided to take things one step further when they noticed that pet stores categorize their products by brand instead of what they are made of. That’s the opposite way that human food is categorized in grocery stores. We don’t shop by brand for our groceries; the isles are organized by the type of food that we’re looking for.
Protein for Pets, or P4P, shelves its inventory according to the protein that the pet food is made with like meat, fish, poultry, and exotic foods. The stores carry over 1,200 different pet food formulas including dry kibble, wet food, and raw food. None of the products on their shelves have wheat, corn, soy, or animal by-products as an ingredient.
Since the company prides itself on offering high-quality dog food and other pet food at affordable prices, their dry food ranges in price from $1 per pound up to $3.50 per pound for the premium brands. Most large retailers charge close to $2 per pound for their regular products and many brands go higher than $4 per pound.
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In order to keep prices low they focus on having a small store format with low overhead. The start-up also has a private label raw food in the works right now that they claim will be comparable in price to other brands of dry kibble. They say it will cost about $3 per pound.
Right now P4P products are only available in their nine store locations that are spread out through the state of California, but they are hoping to expand quickly and even offer online shopping soon. Giannini says that four of the nine stores are already turning a profit since their debut last June.
They currently only have 6 full-time employees and 25 part-time employees, but they are hoping to expand to 104 stores on the West Coast within the next five years.