World's largest pet expo brings millions to Central Florida economy

Visitors from 65 counties expected to spend 25 million dollars

By Julie Broughton - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - It's a $53 billion industry, and the world's largest pet trade show is in Orlando this week. 

Buyers from 65 countries are in town for the Global Pet Expo at the Orange County Convention Center.

According to American Pet Product Association Senior Vice President Andy Darmoraj, the expo will pump $25 million into the Central Florida economy.

"They're in the exhibit hall for a few hours a day, and then they're out, whether it's dinner on Sand Lake Road or the theme parks, they're enjoying the city of Orlando while they're here," Darmoraj said.

More than 8,000 booths display the latest in pet trends, from the usual dog and cat items, to fish and ferret products. Darmorah says the hottest trend right now is natural pet care, because pet trends follow people trends.

"So if they're eating natural and organic, they want to be sure pets are doing the same," he said. "That's the biggest growing area right now."

Major companies like Purina are here, but so are smaller businesses looking to make contacts. Josh Feinkind credits his three years of coming to the expo with doubling his annual sales to around a million dollars.

"We've gotten onto major websites like Bed, Bath and Beyond and Costo, as well as some other major pet stores," Feinkind said.

World famous dog behaviorist Cesar Milan is launching his new product line at the expo on Thursady. Items range from treats all the way to an $800 dog treadmill.

The event is not open to the public, but you can expect to see new products in stores this spring.

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