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boomer

Experience Matters’ Inaugural Encore Fellowship Class Graduates

Experience Matters, an organization that connects baby boomers with nonprofit and social service organizations to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County, announces the graduation of the inaugural encore fellowship class.  The first class of encore fellows has completed their yearlong fellowship with their host nonprofit organizations. Encore fellowships represent a new life-stage in which experienced boomers find meaningful ways to engage in the community and bring skilled and professional resources to these organizations that are often under-resourced.  Nationwide, 31 million boomers indicate an interest in encore opportunities.  In Maricopa County there is significant demand on behalf of both boomers and nonprofit organizations for fellowship and hosting opportunities, respectively.

“My work this past year as an Experience Matters’ encore fellow hosted by the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits could not have been more rewarding.  I learned more about the needs of nonprofit organizations and how they operate than I thought possible in just one year. It was quite rewarding to see how my 25 years of experience in the corporate world added value to a nonprofit organization.  I have a new-found respect for the Arizona nonprofit community and am committed to staying involved as I graduate from the Encore Fellowship Program,” stated Warren Mills, former valley technology executive.

“It is with great pride that we celebrate the graduation of our inaugural encore fellowship class at Experience Matters.  These fellows and organizations proved the value of matching boomers with nonprofit organizations.  What we have learned from the inaugural class indicates we can significantly increase the number of boomers engaged in paid and unpaid social service opportunities to support our nonprofit community as they work so hard to improve the quality of life in Maricopa County.  The demand is strong to connect the talent with the community, ” stated Nora Hannah, CEO of Experience Matters.

The inaugural class included the following fellows and their host organizations:

Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, Encore Fellow Mr. Warren Mills
Altered Tails, Encore Fellow Mr. Gregg Cebulski
Arizona Foundation for Women, Encore Fellow Ms. Debbie Hall
Arizona Science Center, Encore Fellow Mr. Kris Guffey
Balsz Elementary School District, Encore Fellow Ms. Anne White
Halle Family Foundation, Encore Fellow Ms. Denise Schubert
HALO, Encore Fellow Mr. Bill Thomson
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, Encore Fellow Ms. Isabel LeRoy
Mission of Mercy, Encore Fellow Ms. Dianne Aguilar
PetSmart Charities, Encore Fellow Ms. Linda Hannen
St. Mary’s Food Bank, Encore Fellow Ms. Christine McRight
Tempe Community Action, Encore Fellow Mr. Jeff Abraham
Valley of the Sun United Way, Encore Fellow Mr. Bob Ryan

PetSmart: Pets Hotel

PetSmart: Pampered Pooches = Profits

PetSmart now has a new trick up its sleeve: five-star pet hotels.

PetSmart, the largest chain of pet supply stores in the U.S., is undeniably a market force to be reckoned with. Pet parents have been pulling dog biscuits and kitty litter off PetSmart’s shelves since the company opened its doors in 1987. Since then, the retail conglomerate with more than 38,000 employees has expanded its predominantly “dog-centric” products and services to meet the needs of customers with cats, horses, fish, birds and more.

The first in-store PetHotel opened in 2002 and has proven to be PetSmart’s fattest cash cow, as it can increase individual store revenue by 29 percent.

The five-star quality boarding exclusively for dogs and cats offers salon luxuries that compete with those of people hotels: a shampoo, massage and blow dry package, hair brushing, nail trimming. Holiday waiting lists have exceeded 400, and due to robust demand, PetSmart plans to add more PetHotels, growing its current 90 to 292 by 2010. Ultimate build-out is expected to be 540.

“(PetHotels are) on fire now,” says PetSmart Chairman and CEO Philip L. Francis.

But market dominance isn’t guaranteed or permanent. Despite soaring success with PetHotels and a revenue of $4.3 billion in 2006, PetSmart recently reported sales and earnings will be lower than predicted for 2007. It forecasts third-quarter earnings of 17 to 20 cents per share, with yearly earnings coming in at $2.02 to $2.07 per share. That’s down from initial earnings predictions of 21 to 23 cents per share in the third quarter and $2.08 to $2.10 per share for the year.

Hence the importance of PetHotels to PetSmart’s bottom line. Francis says he anticipates pet parenting will peak in 2020. As a result, PetSmart started a two-year market research endeavor to discover other industry needs it can meet. He says PetSmart might provide in-home and in-office services in the future, such as poop scooping and aquarium care in places of business.

“Success” is a word that takes on a different meaning depending on who you ask. Francis summed it up in three letters: TLC, or total lifetime care for the pet and parent.

The company’s nonprofit PetSmart Charities Inc. started in 1994 and is fundamental to PetSmart’s overall mission, as its adoption programs help alleviate pet overpopulation. PetSmart has saved more than three million lives to date, or one life every two minutes, through adoption programs such as the one in which Francis got his own dog, Bit O’Honey, a mixed breed third in line to be euthanized.

Despite PetSmart’s positive impact on pet adoption, it has received criticism recently because it’s considering selling rabbits, one of the most abandoned animals in the U.S.

From July to December 2007, 25 PetSmart stores out of about 1,000 sold rabbits as part of its own study to learn if this is a feasible new market. Based on findings, PetSmart may decide to sell rabbits at specific locations. “There are no adoptable rabbits in some towns,” says Francis, explaining the company’s decision.

PetSmart wouldn’t release the locations of all test stores, but confirmed three are in Arizona: Phoenix, Glendale and Tucson.

Kim Dezelon is director of fundraising for the Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue in Phoenix and is also a PetSmart shareholder. The nonprofit has been adopting out rabbits through PetSmart for more than a decade, placing more than 1,700 rabbits in homes.

“If consumer demand was so strong, we could have worked with (PetSmart) more closely to meet that demand with the rabbits at our shelter,” Dezelon says. “We are extremely disappointed. We’ve had a long standing relationship with PetSmart.”

But Francis says no determination of the pilot program’s future has been made and all considerations will be taken.

“We’re in the information gathering stage,” he says. “Nobody knows the truth. When we know it, we’ll act responsibly. We’re (making) enough financially, we don’t have to grub for every penny.”

To learn more about PetSmart PetsHotel, visit petshotel.petsmart.com.