Ren’s Pets Expands Canadian Presence with More Ontario Stores Planned for Spring 2024 [Interview]

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Ren’s Pets, a leading Canadian specialty retailer of pet food and supplies, is growing its footprint in Canada with the addition of three more stores in the Spring.

This after opening 12 new stores in 2023 in Ontario and Eastern Canada, including two urban stores in Toronto.

The company said it will open the following locations in the Spring – Collingwood, Ontario located at 2 Mountain Road, 9,000 square feet; Napanee, Ontario located at 89 Jim Kimmett Blvd, 6,400 square feet; and Tillsonburg, Ontario located at 200 Broadway Street, 4,700 square feet.

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

Ren’s currently has 57 stores operating in Canada.

Scott Arsenault

“Ren’s has been on a fast-paced growth plan for the past five years, and we plan to open three new stores in the spring of next year,” said Scott Arsenault, CEO of Ren’s Pets. “Every time we survey our customers, they tell us they want more Ren’s stores. We’re so appreciative of the customer support for our brand, and the desire from our customers to want to shop with us. More than anything, they love supporting a Canadian company that offers only the top premium brands for your Pet’s Best Life.

“At this time, we’re working on finding the perfect locations in strong pet communities to complement our existing Ren’s store set. We’ve built a great customer base in the Greater Toronto area and have expanded into urban locations right in the heart of Toronto. We’re growing around the rest of the province of Ontario. Ren’s now also has a strong network in Eastern Canada, with eight stores across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island. We’ll continue to add stores, but also put a large focus on our existing store base going into next year.

“We continue to look at opportunities in any market and we’ve had success opening up in Owen Sound which was a great market. Even Belleville at one point we thought was too small for a Ren’s and that store’s been really fantastic for us . . . The thing that comes out of areas like Collingwood is we look at the pet spend and we look at the population there. And it is really high. Most of our decisions are driven by data. We look at household incomes, we look at pet ownership, we look at pet spend. We have all of that data including veterinary spend, food spend and the market around Collingwood is great. It’s fantastic.”

Image: Ren’s Pets

Ren’s Pets is headquartered in Guelph, Ontario and operates stores in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. The company, which was founded in 1975, was acquired by the Legault Group in August 2021.

“(2023) was a big year. 12 new stores. Really grew our recognition as a brand now to have great coverage in Ontario but now we have a great network of eight stores in the Maritimes,” said Arsenault.

The first store in Atlantic Canada was about three and a half years ago in Halifax. 

Arsenault said the company is planning right now for 2024. 

“We have lots in the hopper but right now (the three stores) is what’s confirmed,” he said. “Our fiscal year begins in February. So we do like to get the openings. We just finished three openings in September and as a retailer I think everybody, especially even in Canada with the climate and weather, you want to get open as early as you can before the holiday season. That’s typically how we do it and we’ve left out some months in time to negotiate if there’s going to be more stores for Ren’s.”

Greg Rabin, Vice President Commercial and Retail Services at The Behar Group is assisting Ren’s Pets with site selection in Toronto/GTA.

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

The pet industry was booming during the COVID years and the strength has continued post-pandemic.

“The one thing that has changed is there’s been a little bit of compression in the toys and treats but the thing that has not changed is Canadians are unwavering for nutrition for their pets,” explained Arsenault. “Our pet food sales in premium food, in really good quality food, and raw has not slowed down. It’s actually grown. You hear about all these macro winds out there affecting retailers, we just have not seen people wavering on what they’re feeding their pet.

“Pet ownership is still rising high and we haven’t seen any consolidation on where they’re spending their money on food.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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