Pet Franchise Is for the Birds
Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, his CBO Phoebe (left) and an unnamed dog.
Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, shares his workspace with CBO Phoebe, who as the "chief bird officer" is in charge of any avian visitors to Pet Central, the franchise’s corporate office.
We learned about Phoebe while interviewing Rowland via email for March’s Loose Ends column about the similar techniques used for training dogs and employees.
Phoebe is Rowland’s own umbrella cockatoo, and she isn’t just office eye candy. She has her own internal Twitter account, which is aptly named Yammer, and her own work space. We’re guessing that yammering is her biggest contribution to the company, but we never underestimate the contribution of working pets.
While other franchise industries also have cool terminology and titles—Which Wich’s CEO Jeff Sinelli is the sandwich chain’s "chief vibe officer"—the pet industry is teeming with puns. For instance, new pet owners at Pet Supplies Plus can take advantage of the company’s “Peternity Stay,” where they can bring their pets to the office every day for the first couple of months to not only bond, but to get through the dreaded house-breaking phase. To be fair to workers who can’t have their own pets, foster pet parents can also bring their charges to work.
Fridays are doggie day camp days, where employees’ dogs can enjoy hanging out and socializing with each other. Most likely the water cooler is removed from the premises on that day to avoid someone getting a leg up on the competition, so to speak.
Rowland believes that both dogs and people need some sort of reward for a job well done, which is why they call their internal recognition program, “Pat on the Back.” Rowland explains that the reward can be financial in the case of employees and a literal pat on the back or head for dogs. But one reward they both share are donuts.