Economic Crisis Gone to the Dogs

Fort Lee, NJ, March 25, 2009 --( There’s no question that the recession has led to many businesses closing and thousands of lost jobs, but the jury is still out on the extent to which the economic crisis will affect online businesses. Some experts say that hard economic times actually fuel e commerce. Others, such as E-commerce Journal, say that online businesses will be unaffected at first, but that eventually the domino effect will reach the average American internet business, or at least those that sell non-essential products. However, one expert after another has proclaimed the the pet industry will see growth in many categories, and especially online. While the data show that this is true in many cases, there are some cases where the economic reality is setting in.

One example where this seems to be coming true is , a family owned online pet boutique that has its roots in New York City. They have decided to stop selling retail after 5 incredibly successful years of business. The natural question is, why? The company’s rankings are at an all time high in Google,Yahoo, MSN and Ask for keywords related to dog clothing and their site received more than 3 million page views in 2008. Nikki Carroll, co-owner and founder of, explains the need for the drastic change. “Even though we have thousands of people visiting the site daily, fewer people are taking out their wallets and buying. The reason is that dog clothing and accessories are luxury items, and frankly, in this economic climate many people don’t have luxury money to spend”.

Rather than close their doors forever, though, the company is shifting gears into areas of the pet industry that are still thriving. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) has announced that categories such as health care, pet services, pet food and live animal purchases will continue to see growth in 2009. While will not sell product in any of these areas, they will offer advertising space to companies that do, thus taking advantage of their high rankings in the search engines. "That's what survival is all about, adapting to the environment" said Nikki as the company sent out orders from their ongoing closeout sale. "First, we have to sell off these items as quickly as possible, because the last thing we want is to let all of these great clothes that we invested so much time, money and effort into sit on a shelf and go to waste" In order to do this, she said they are forced to reduce prices by as much as 90%. Nikki and her husband, Grant, remain hopeful as they face the future. "We want everyone to know that once we sell off our inventory, we still have a lot to offer pet businesses and pet owners, and as always the focus of the site will be to help our fellow pet lovers take care of their pets." When asked about the viability of selling advertising, Nikki responded "We've always been known for selling at a better price than our competitors, and this will be no different. We're going to offer great exposure to pet businesses at a low cost on a first come, first serve basis" With that, heads into the future with something this country needs right now, hope.

The Carroll family is not alone in its new endeavors. The Small Business Online Community, powered by Bank of America, is a forum for small business owners to share ideas, tips and encouragement. Many recent posts reveal the everyday struggles of small business owners in this recession, but also reveal old-fashioned American ingenuity and tenacity. One major theme repeated by the entrepreneurs is the need for small businesses to increase their web presence and web marketing. Only time will tell just how far this recession will go before it bottoms out, but everyone's goal is the same, to hang on. However, perhaps America should take a note from online entrepreneurs and rather than seeing this as a trial to survive, it is a chance to reinvent ourselves and thrive.

Nikki Carroll