Entrepreneur Risks it All to Become First Black Franchisor in $21 Billion Pet Industry

Adrian Archi is Founder & CEO of petNmind Natural Nutrition, Supplies, & Hygiene, a one-stop shop for holistic pet nutrition and care.

Archie is the first African American to start and sell franchises in the $21 billion pet industry. The store’s small-box concept model enables the best quality products, service and experience for the growing number of discerning pet parents who value a more insightful and less intimidating approach to pet care.

petNmind has developed a simple and affordable pet care and service concept for franchisees. Its small footprint and simplicity are ideal for beginning entrepreneurs, but it’s also robust enough for seasoned entrepreneurs and/or investors to grab the attention of the majority of pet owners in their communities and scale quickly.

Adrian Archie, CEO of petNmind Franchise (Image courtesy of petNmind Naturals & Self-Wash Franchise)

Archie opened 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 major retailers, with an emphasis on finding nutritional solutions to a range of problems often caused by nutritional deficiencies .

The first franchise location in Ft. Lauderdale, FL is slated to open in November. Additional locations are slated to open next year in Los Angeles and Orlando. Currently, petNmind is backed by venture capital investments from Leap Partners, a pet industry venture firm.

In addition to dog and cat food and accessories, customers can have hygiene services such as washing, depilating, ear cleaning and nail trimming for a small fee. A monthly non-anaesthetic dental consultation rounds off the hygienic offer. And for customers interested in regular dog washing services, petNmind offers a recurring subscription program that allows for unlimited use of the facility for a monthly fee.

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(Image: petNmind Franchise Retail Products/Courtesy of petNmind Naturals & Self-Wash Franchise)

Turn passion into profit

Archie has always had a passion for animals. After college, he spent two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Montreal Allouettes and briefly in the National Football League (NFL) with the Atlanta Falcons in 2005 before embarking on a more traditional career in American companies.

After a ten-year career in healthcare sales and marketing, Archie finally decided to follow his passion and open his own business offering holistic nutrition, natural treats and pet supplies.

When asked why he chose to franchise, Archie explains, “I wanted to support people who have a desire to do more and take a greater 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 offer is based on what I’ve learned from doing it myself successfully for almost eight years. Everything from successfully transitioning Corporate America – no small feat – to successfully launching, retaining customers, operating and scaling a profitable pet and hygiene business.”

He also provided valuable advice for business owners considering franchising

“Deploy your systems first,” he says. “People are really investing in that. A turnkey system that reduces the chance of failure. At first I just thought it was all about the numbers, especially the win, and yes, that’s what counts. Nobody starts a business not to make money. However, I believe fit and industry are more important. What good is a profitable business if you hate it, your kids don’t want to keep it, or the resale market is challenged by buyers who don’t want to be in a particular industry?”

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“Even as an aspiring franchisor, it’s important to understand the value of your industry, your concept, and the chances of success if you’re part of both at the same time. Finally, you should have a solid plan or source for accessing capital – through leverage, investors, or professional and personal networks. Bottom line, it’s expensive when you factor in lead marketing, sales commissions, PR, training, travel, key team salaries, etc.”

While Archie envisioned bringing the concept to market, there were always challenges along the way—both expected and unexpected.

“The biggest pressures on the transition have been money and access,” says Archie. “It is a costly endeavor to franchise and market your business to acquire leads and build brand awareness. As a burgeoning franchisor with relatively mature competition in the franchise space, it’s not difficult to cut through the noise to get noticed. The bigger challenge is the cost associated with franchise marketing, cutting through the noise of just finding interested people and then engaging them through the process — which can be quite a long cycle from start to finish.”

(Image courtesy of petNmind Naturals & Self-Wash Franchise)

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.

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Missing BIPOC representation

The pet industry is fairly mature, hitting a milestone in 2020 with total sales of $103.6 billion, an all-time high, according to the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) State of the Industry Report. That’s a 6.7% increase from retail sales of $97.1 billion in 2019 (supermarket news, March 2021).

But with all this success, there are very few BIPOC owners in the industry. Archie was excited to comment on the subject.

“This topic is very close to my heart and is close to my heart personally on this earth. Pets change lives and more and more communities need their healing presence.”

“BIPOC customers and entrepreneurs are the biggest growth opportunity for the pet industry,” says Archie. “At the end of the day, it’s a lack of presence. BIPOC communities just don’t have the same exposure to pets and animals. Socioeconomics matters because pets can be expensive. There are some historical reasons why pets, especially dogs, are feared by BIPOC communities. Cultural reasons also play a role.

“I grew up around pets from day one and know firsthand the positive benefits pets can bring to children and adults alike,” he adds. “But many of my friends and family didn’t, and that’s why the humanization trend is just beginning to reach the 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 will see the way.”

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