In its annual contest to select the outstanding pet industry retailer, Pet Product News International has selected Loyal Biscuit Co. as recipient of its 2013-2014 Outstanding Growth Award.

Pet Product News International,a monthly trade news magazine covering the issues and trends affecting all sectors of the professional pet industry, announced the award in the July 2013 issue of the magazine and will profile the retailer in the November 2013 edition.

The overall winner and the 11 special recognition winners are each given a seat on the Pet Product News International Retail Advisory Board as part of the award program.

After years in the banking industry, Heidi Vanorse Neal, along with her husband, Joel, first purchased the Rockland store in 2010 and has since added two locations in Belfast and Camden. Neal attributes Loyal Biscuit Co.’s success to community-based marketing efforts.

“I am a huge believer in community marketing, meaning that by us focusing our efforts on assisting local community groups, and getting our customers involved with that, our business will grow,” said Heidi Vanorse Neal, in a news release. “This is a philosophy we have followed since purchasing the store in January of 2010. In our first two years, our gross sales grew by double digits. All three stores continue to increase monthly over the previous years.”

"We love the communities that we are in. The fact that we live in, do business, and walk our own dogs in the same towns as our customers, really matters to us,” she said. "We love what we do," added Joel, "to be recognized like this is nothing short of amazing."

In October 2012, the Neal’s added a toy company, Loyal Biscuit Tug ME Toy, and Heidi, along with April Thibodeau, created a treat line in 2011, Fidelis Biscuit Co., which recently was awarded Best Maine Pet Product by Downeast Dog News.

Loyal Biscuit Co. is a supporter of local rescue organizations and nonprofits that better the lives of pets. Their popular Pints for Paws event has raised over $11,000 that has been donated to local shelters. Neal also serves on the Board of Directors for the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County. The Rockland and Belfast stores serve as a satellite location for local shelters to aid in the adoption of cats and more than 100 cats have found new homes in the last 18 months through this program.