Ren’s Pets Expands Toronto Footprint with Three New Stores, Launches Extensive Halloween Collection [Interview]

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Ren’s Pets recently opened two locations in Toronto and has one more planned for this month, just in time for this year’s Halloween shopping.

Larissa Wasyliw, Vice President of Ecommerce and Marketing at Ontario-based Ren’s Pets, says more than ever people are shopping for Halloween, not just for themselves – but also for their pets.

Larissa Wasyliw

“We are really excited about Halloween. It is actually one of the most celebrated holidays people will have with their pets. And what we are seeing, since the pandemic, is that everybody has pets as there was a high adoption rate. Pets are being included in all of the Fall and Halloween activities because people really think of their pets as part of their family,” says Wasyliw.

Ren’s Pets Halloween Display (Image: Ren’s Pets)
Image: Ren’s Pets

Each Ren’s Pets store will now have their Halloween supplies ready. For this year, consumers can find a variety of Halloween themed products such as costumes, accessories, toys, treats, and Fall themed clothing.

“When we did our orders for this year, we really had in mind that coming out of the pandemic – people were wanting to celebrate quite a bit. One of the most popular things we have ordered this year was pyjamas – Halloween pyjamas for your pets, which is really fun. People right now are going all out and celebrating big, and we really expect that to happen this year with pets.”

Along with other retailers, Wasyliw is seeing an increase in consumers shopping earlier for Halloween, meaning Ren’s Pets have dropped their Halloween collection earlier than ever before.

What Consumers Are Looking For This Halloween

Halloween Pugs (Image: Ren’s Pets)

Wasyliw says consumers this year are looking for premade costumes, such as pumpkins, tacos, and hot dogs – which all seem to be a popular option this year and for past Halloweens. She also sees consumers buying a blend of products and accessories to add to what they already have or to create their own costume.

Consumers are not only spending money on Halloween costumes, but also products to lead up to Halloween.

“The other thing consumers are looking for is not so much even a costume, but seasonal attire. So we have little hoodies that are ghosts and different fun things. Shoppers would like to dress their pets up in clothing that represents Halloween around the season, and then they put the actual costumes on for Halloween to celebrate the actual event.”

Image: Ren’s Pets

Although Wasyliw says consumers are being cost effective right now and are watching their pocketbooks – people still love to spoil their pets. Ren’s Pets is seeing consumers reusing a costume, but then adding onto it by buying accessories or placing their disposable income into hoodies, extra seasonal clothing, and treats.

“That is what we are seeing this year. We are also seeing people buying their pets special treats for Halloween as we do offer cookies and different little treats for pets that are themed with flavours or different creations just for Halloween.”

Ren’s Pets will have costumes available such as cow costumes, superheroes, tacos, hot dogs, and although they do not have Barbie specific costumes, Ren’s Pets do carry a lot of dresses and accessories that could be used for a Barbie costume. Consumers have the option of shopping online, in-person, and even have the option of ordering through DoorDash.

Social Media Stars & Contests

Image: Ren’s Pets

For the month of October Ren’s Pets will be celebrating cats all month, have a special one week flyer that is dedicated to the season, and will have contests.

One popular trend Wasyliw is seeing is shoppers having matching costumes with their pets and to include the whole family.

“We have always done pet costume contests which are really fun and then this year, we have been talking about how to make it extra special. And one of the things that we noticed, is that people love to match their costumes with their pets costumes, especially in Toronto and in our urban stores. So we have been thinking about really fun marketing activities and social media activities that we can do with our consumers and their pets.”

As an example, Wasyliw says she remembers a picture of a pet from one year dressed up as a hot dog and their owner was dressed up as a bottle of Ketchup.

“Because of this, their costumes really become social media stars. The pet parent loves their pet costumes and they post it all over social media channels. We have just about seen everything which is amazing and that is why we love our pet photo contest.”

This year, consumers can expect to see photo events and people can bring in their pets to get their photo taken with a different backdrop in each store. Ren’s Pets will also have treat samples as “pets always love to try something new and exciting with the Halloween flavour.”

In addition to the Halloween season, Ren’s Pets will also be getting ready for Christmas which will start in November and instead of Black Friday, they will have Bark Friday. “We do the 24 days of Christmas where we offer deals for our customers across the whole month of December, so it is a perfect timing to get these stores open.”

New Stores

Ren’s Pets Toronto Beaches (Image: Ren’s Pets)

As of the end of September, Ren’s Pets will have opened twelve new stores in 2023; they have recently opened two new locations and are opening one more at the end of the month.

One store recently opened to the public was in the Toronto Beaches neighbourhood on September 2nd. This location is one of Ren’s Pets’ smaller format ‘urban concept’ stores and is right across from a dog park on Queen Street East.

Ren’s Pets Markham (Image: Ren’s Pets)

The second location opened on September 16th in Markham, and the third store will be in Oshawa and set to open September 30th.

“We have been having great success in the GTA. Markham is a perfect fit for us to build out a store and then finally on the 30th, we are opening up in Oshawa. So those three do wrap up our twelve stores we have opened this year, which is just a phenomenal fast paced growth for the company.”

By the end of September, Ren’s Pets will have 57 locations across Canada.

Retail Insider is also able to confirm the first two stores in 2024 will be in Collingwood and Napanee.

Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala, based in Toronto, is a new Journalist to Retail Insider. She has experience writing for local newspapers and also internationally for Helsinki Times while she lived in Finland. Shelby holds a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree from the University of King’s College and a Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

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