August 23, 2022 - 5:18 pm
Updated August 25, 2022 - 9:14 pm
Thousands of people — and several ferrets, reptiles, birds and fish — gathered at Mandalay Bay for the annual SuperZoo convention on Tuesday.
The trade show, covering 300,000 square feet, is billed as one the largest events in the pet industry and caters to the entire spectrum of pet care including retailers, wholesalers and brands.
The convention has taken place in Las Vegas since 2004, and organizer World Pet Association said this year looks to be a record-setting one.
“This is possibly the largest SuperZoo ever,” said Mike Karsting, senior vice president of events at World Pet Association.
The event normally attracts 20,000 professionals in the pet industry with about 1,000 exhibits, he said. This year, it had already drawn in at least 20,000 people its first day, on Monday. Karsting said attendance levels for the five-day convention is on pace to be the highest in its 71-year history.
Last year, SuperZoo occurred when Clark County’s mask mandate was still in effect and the event only had about 70 percent of its normal capacity, according to Karsting.
Rayne Kracko, manager at So Fetch! Luxe Mobile Pet Spa, has attended SuperZoo about seven times. She said this year is the largest one and thinks the growth can be attributed to increasing interest in the pet industry.
“It got really small a couple of years ago, and this is the biggest I’ve ever seen it,” said Kracko. “It just completely imploded this year.”
The impressive size of the event also made an impact on some first time attendees such as Karis McGee, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Commodities.
She was at the trade show to expand her online retail business and described SuperZoo as “totally overwhelming.”
LED-lights for reptiles, macaroon dog treats, nail polish for pets, reflective raincoats for dogs and health and food supplements for animals were among the items on display.
McGee said she enjoyed the variety of products including a dog leash with a water reservoir inside it for hot walks.
Kracko said she loves coming to the multi-day dog grooming competition.
Karsting said the association organizes the convention to help the pet industry grow by bringing together pet companies and retailers.
“They’re showing the newest, greatest pet products that you’re gonna see in your pet store,” Karsting said.
Exhibitor Star Manufacturing traveled from Florida to attend SuperZoo for the opportunity to partner with other companies. It makes hemp extracts to reduce pain for pets, ranging from dogs to horses.
“There’s a lot of folks here that want to carry it in their stores and because a lot of people like the white labeling aspect,” said Morgan Coffey, chief science officer at Star Manufacturing.
Karsting said the pet industry has had a remarkable run in recent years, but it’s subject to the same market forces impacting other industries such as supply-chain snarls and inflation.
But so far, he hasn’t seen any signs of a slowdown and said that SuperZoo could expand next year based on the performance of this year’s event.
“We’re gonna have to talk about expanding to new halls or larger facilities, those kinds of things,” said Karsting. “It just feels like it keeps on growing.”