Prince Albert business owners credit customers and staff for ABEX Award win

Corinne and Lee Penner after Pet Planet was announced as the 2022 Winner of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce ABEX service award -- Pet Planet Prince Albert/Facebook

The owner of a local pet store said it was both surprising and humbling to receive a provincial business award, and credited the store’s success to their customers and staff for their innovation and feedback over the last seven years.

“It was not really expected, but we’re very proud of our accomplishments,” said Lee Penner, owner of Prince Albert Pet Planet. “We’re very proud of our staff and our customers as well, for sticking with us and helping us.”

Penner said they wouldn’t be where they are now without their staff, both past and present.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to our customers and especially our staff, and all the work they’ve put in over the years,” Penner said. “They’ve made such a big contribution to where we are now with customer service levels.”

Penner said training is a major part of what makes Pet Planet so successful. Not only do he and his wife, Corinne, conduct personal staff training in small animal nutrition, staff also learn through online courses and have even been sent to hear from guest speakers in the past.

Penner explained that not only do his staff continually undergo education, but so do Corinne and himself.

“We’re on the product committee for all stores in Canada, so we actually help select new products coming in which really helps us understand what the customers want, what’s trending in the industry. We review every product right down to every ingredient, so every food product, every item, is actually analyzed and reviewed every year,” said Penner. “It takes a lot of time, but it’s those kinds of commitments and those little extras that make the big difference for us.”

Pet Planet was presented with the Service Award during the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce 2022 Achieving Business Excellence (ABEX) Awards at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon on Nov. 5.

“The number of applications received for this years’ ABEX Awards has been astonishing. We are proud to celebrate so many Saskatchewan business success stories,” said Prabha Ramaswamy, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

The ABEX Awards are the longest-running business awards program in the province. They are a celebration of the success of Saskatchewan businesses and recognize the achievements of the private sector. This year marked the first in-person ceremony since 2019.

Pet Planet was also recently named Business of the year at the 2021 Samuel McLeod Awards in April, and received the Business Transformation Award as well in recognition of their renovations and upgrades completed in 2021.