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My name is Justin Lepley. I had the privilege of working at Coastal Pet Products for the greater part of 2017, as an intern in the marketing office. Before starting my internship, I had previously worked at a local, independently-owned, pet shop for about ten years. In the pet industry, it is hard not to have heard of Coastal as they have been a staple of the industry for nearly 50 years. Growing up in Alliance, Ohio however, it is nearly impossible not to be familiar, as Coastal is one of the largest employers in our area.

Justin Lepley

In my years working at the pet shop, I had become very familiar with the products, and without direct comparison, it was easy to take for granted the superior quality of the things Coastal produces. It wasn't until after I began looking closer into other brands that I fully came to appreciate all that Coastal stands for and their "Quality Guarantee" that is the foundation of everything that they put out into the market.

Today pets are seen to be as much a part of the family as children, so building a relationship of trust with the customer is paramount for any pet retailer. As an independent pet shop, this relationship was the center of our business model. We built our customer base one person at a time. For this reason, I was always proud to sell Coastal Products because I knew that I was offering my customers the best product available, and if for any reason they weren't fully satisfied I could make it right with them right then and there.

I started at Coastal with this unique experience from the front lines of the industry, but without a full understanding of everything that it takes to get the final product to the shelves. It was truly incredible to witness an idea take off on its journey to becoming a final, sellable product. Ideas do not necessarily just start from scratch; often they evolve from current or past products that Coastal has brought to the market and seeks to improve upon them. As the ideas move their way through the company, they not only touch many different departments but much more importantly they touch many different people who each help to improve on the idea as they work toward making the product a reality.

This is this reason that Coastal Pet has been able to maintain its family and community roots for almost half a century as it continues to reinvent itself layer by layer. It is the people that make Coastal Pet such a special place. Many have been with the company for decades and help preserve the history of the company as it continues to move into the future. Those who are new to Coastal are quickly made to feel at home and an important part of the team, as was my experience.

Carnation Parade

One of my favorite parts of working within the marketing department was that I not only got to know so many great people within the company, but I also had an eye on those that Coastal impacts externally. From what I saw, I do not stand alone in my high view of Coastal Pet. So many within the pet industry know and trust in the quality that comes with the Coastal name. Moving forward, I can see Coastal Pet Products being a household name on which pet owners rely. Again, I am so thankful for the kindness shown to me and being made to feel part of the team from day one. I cannot wait to see the great things that Coastal Pet Products continues to bring to pet lovers in the future.

Justin Lepley, Marketing Intern

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