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11


atty Backer


H.H. Backer Associates is committed to helping pet business owners, pet parents and pets themselves. They’ve been committed to that for nearly half a century!


“It's great to be a part of shows that have been successful for such a long time. Our fall show is in its 47th year, while our spring show will celebrate its 25th year in 2014,” says Colette, trade show director. “I'm proud to have been in such a wonderful industry for so many years. I love the fact that our industry is like family.”


During H.H. Backer’s decades at the heart of the pet world—under the guidance of President Patty Backer’s father, then mother before her—the following words have been uttered countless times, "We got our start at your shows, and thanks for the opportunity.” It’s a phrase we never get tired of hearing, explains Colette. “We love to hear suc- cess stories from our new exhibitors and first-time attendees about the benefits of attending our trade shows.”


Trailblazing


When Patty’s father, Horst Backer, died in 1984, there were few women in the pet industry. Patty recollects, “My mother, Sue Busch, took over the Chicago show and “Pet Age” magazine. She did a re- markable job and paved the way for women in the pet industry. I jumped in and took over the reins at her sudden death in 1994. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and love.”


Since then, Patty’s done her own trailblazing as well. “I was totally hooked by the people and the inventiveness of products and ideas when I went to my first industry trade show,” recalls Patty. “My back- ground was teaching art and behind-the-scenes film work. Working on a movie is similar to producing a trade show, so it was great prepa- ration.” And, adds Patty, “I’m a natural networker.” So a job where she’s devoted to introducing people, be they exhibitors, buyers or pet lovers, is a perfect fit. “It brings me joy,” stresses Patty, “to witness the connections that blossom in the industry.”


olette Fairchild


Industry Lookout


As a leading trade show producer, H.H. Backer’s goal is to bring buy- ers and sellers together to see new products, spot trends, network and provide outstanding educational opportunities for everyone who at- tends. “We are always on the lookout for companies with innovative and creative products that would be a good fit for our Total Pet Expo fall and spring shows. We find these companies through the trade press, social media and other trade and public events,” says Colette.


Patty, too, loves the thrill of the shows, saying, “It’s about being pre- sent and ready for anything – from an escaped animal to an issue or conflict that occurs.”


With Retailers in Mind


“We recently changed our fall show dates to an earlier time (September) to allow retailers to get a jump on 2014 and to provide more time for buying for the holiday season. We're confident this move will be beneficial for both our exhibitors and buyers moving forward.”


Colette’s pet store job as a teen was fortuitous of her career choice. “I began working at a pet store at age 14 and loved selling animals and supplies to others. I felt I was helping share my joy of pet owner- ship,” she recalls, reflecting that, “Pet parents should know H.H. Backer Associates strives to promote responsible pet ownership through education and training at the retail level.”


Contact Colette Fairchild at cfairchild@hhbacker.com; and Patty Backer at pbacker@hhbacker.com; or at 312-578-1818 .


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