Entrepreneur Risks it All to Become First Black Franchisor in $21 Billion Pet Industry
Adrian Archie is founder and CEO of petNmind Natural Nutrition, Supplies, & Hygiene, a one-stop-shop for holistic pet nutrition and care.
Archie is the first African American to launch and sell franchises in the $21 billion pet industry. The store’s small-box concept model allows for the best quality products, service, and experience for the growing number of discerning pet parents who appreciate a more insightful and less intimidating approach to pet care.
For franchise owners, petNmind has created a simple and affordable pet supply and service concept. Its small footprint and simplicity is ideal for entrepreneurs starting out, but it’s also robust enough for experienced entrepreneurs and/or investors to command the majority of pet parents’ attention in their communities, and scale quickly.
Archie launched the flagship location in Coconut Creek, FL, in 2016. The holistic, natural pet food store has focused on quality and nutrition as a healthier alternative to the items found on the shelves of big-box retailers, with an emphasis on finding nutritional solutions for a range of issues often created by dietary deficiencies.
The first franchise location in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is scheduled to open in November. Additional locations are slated to open next year in Los Angeles and Orlando. Currently, petNmind has venture capital investment backing from Leap Partners, a Pet Industry Venture Firm.
In addition to dog and cat food and supplies, for a nominal charge, customers may take advantage of hygiene services such as washing, de-shedding, ear cleaning, and nail clipping. A monthly non-anesthetic dental clinic completes the hygienic offerings. And for customers interested in regular dog washing services, petNmind offers a recurring subscription program allowing unlimited use of the facility for a monthly fee.
Turning passion into profit
Archie always had a passion for animals. After college, he spent two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Montreal Allouettes, and briefly spent time in the National Football League (NFL) with the Atlanta Falcons in 2005 before embarking on a more traditional career in corporate America.
After a career in healthcare sales and marketing that spanned a decade, Archie finally decided to pursue his passion to open his own store providing holistic nutrition, all-natural treats, and pet supplies.
When asked why he decided to franchise, Archie explains, “I wanted to support people that have the desire to do more and take bigger calculated risk[s] in business but don’t know how or where to start or just need a solid team around them.”
“The support we provide is based on what I’ve learned doing it myself successfully for nearly eight years. Everything from transitioning successfully from Corporate America—not an easy feat—to successfully launching, engaging customers, operating, and scaling a profitable Pet Supply and Hygiene Business.”
He also shared valuable advice for business owners considering franchising
“Get your systems in place first,” he says. “That’s what people are really investing in. A turnkey system that lessens the chance of them failing. Initially, I simply thought that it was all about the numbers, especially profit, and, yes, that matters. No one starts a business to not make money. However, I believe fit and industry matters more. What good is a profitable business if you hate doing it, your children don’t want to continue it, or the market for resale is challenged by buyers not wanting to be in a particular industry?”
“So, even as an emerging franchisor it’s important to know the value of your industry, your concept, and the opportunity for success by being a part of both simultaneously. Lastly, have a solid plan or source to access capital—through debt financing, investors, or professional and personal networks. The bottom line is it’s expensive when you consider lead marketing, sales commissions, PR, training, travel, key team salaries, etc.”
While Archie planned to franchise the concept, there were always challenges along the way—expected and unexpected.
“The biggest burdens to the transition were money and access,” Archie says. “It’s an expensive proposition to franchise your business and market it to attract leads and build brand awareness. As an emerging franchisor that has relatively mature competition in the franchise space, it’s not difficult breaking through the noise to be noticed. The bigger challenge is the cost involved in franchise marketing to break through the noise just to find people that are interested, and then engage them through the process—which can be a rather long cycle from start to finish.”
petNmind is currently developing a digital platform called Pet Quotient or PQ, which will empower their customers, franchisees, as well as several in-house product lines focused on specific Pet Health.
Missing BIPOC representation
The pet care industry is quite mature and reached a milestone in 2020, with total sales of $103.6 billion, a historic high, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) State of the Industry Report. That marks an increase of 6.7% over 2019 retail sales of $97.1 billion (Supermarket News, March 2021).
But with all this success, there are very few BIPOC involved in ownership in the industry. Archie was excited to weigh in on this issue.
“This topic is near and dear to my heart and personal purpose on this earth. Pets change lives and more communities need their healing presence.”
“BIPOC customers and entrepreneurs are the largest opportunity for growth for the pet industry,” Archie explains. “At the end of the day, it comes down to lack of exposure. BIPOC communities simply don’t have the same exposure to pets and animals. Socioeconomics play a part because pets can be expensive. There are some historical reasons that pets, dogs especially, are feared by BIPOC communities. Cultural reasons play a part as well.
“I grew up with pets from day one and I know firsthand the positive benefits that pets have on children and adults alike,” he adds. “Yet many of my friends and family didn’t, and therefore the humanization trend is just beginning to reach BIPOC communities. Pet ownership comes first, and from there, business ownership will follow. People need to be exposed and see living examples of the possibilities and then they see the path.”