Why I choose to attend trade shows 

Article By:

Karima Jivraj, Owner of Bosley’s by Pet Valu (New Westminster, BC)
PIJAC Canada Board Member

I often get asked why I attend at least two major trade shows a year. One is always one of PIJAC Canada’s three shows and the other is usually an international event. As a franchisee of the largest pet food and supply chain in Canada, don’t I have a team of buyers to do all the work? Yes, I have a fantastic team of buyers in Toronto at the Pet Valu head office that do all the buying and negotiating. So why do I spend money to go to these shows?

I have several reasons.  Here are my top three:
1. Not only do I get to see the new products and trends, but I also have the opportunity to speak with the buyers and understand their decisions. I can also provide my feedback to the buyers. This knowledge helps me with delivering better customer service in my store.

2. I have an opportunity to build relationships not just with the buyers, but with other retailers, manufacturers and distributors. I get to ask the questions I have and learn about all the products I carry. What I learn, I can then pass on to my staff and to my customers.

3. Not only do I learn from the vendors, I also take courses on all kinds of topics which help me become a better retailer. I have taken classes on hiring, merchandising, social media, product knowledge, managing cash flow, engaging customers, etc.

Yes, attending these shows cost a lot of money – travel expenses, extra staffing, time away from the store but I see it all as an investment into my business and if that makes a difference to one pet than it is all worth it.