SmartPak barks up a new tree

SmartPak, a Plymouth, MA-based merchant that specializes in equine supplies and gifts, is going to the dogs with the launch of the SmartPak Canine catalog. The 40-page catalog mailed at the beginning of March; a companion Website debuted shortly thereafter.

“Our belief so far is that we are seeing a fairly good response,” says Charlie White, SmartPak’s vice president, direct marketing. “We have kind of a unique product; we’re not aware of any other merchants doing this.”

The product, a mainstay of the SmartPak Equine catalog, is single-serve packs of supplements, medications, and foods customized for each animal. Orders can be automatically replenished on a monthly basis.

White says the concept works for equine owners in part because they rely on someone at a stable to care for their horse. The company believes the same concept will work for dog owners because they are assured a fresh food supply — the packaging is designed to keep out oxygen and moisture. What’s more, the premeasured servings help prevent owners from overfeeding their dogs.

“We’ve established a great business model for horse owners, and many of them are also dog owners,” White says. “They have suggested we expand into dog products, and the more we looked into it, the more we liked the fit.”

In addition to food, supplements, and medicines, SmartPak Canine sells toys, beds, crates, and accessories for dogs and is experimenting with two pages of products for cat owners.

SmartPak recently expanded the workforce in its contact and fulfillment centers, but this was to accommodate expanded sales for SmartPak Equine. The company did not say how many employees have been added and are needed to handle the most recent expansion.