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In fact, in the past 10 years, those plunking down their dollars for man's best friend among other many varieties of pets will dwarf those of toys by $14 billion and overrun candy sales by $10 billion. That being said, pet spending appears to even be recession-proof, gaining 68 percent net of inflation over the past 10 years. Astonishing!And what has brought on this big boom? It adds up to a vast range of reasons. During the booming '90s people were building up sizable amounts of discretionary cash. When people have cash like they have water, dollars find their way to increased spending for pets.People are also living longer, with the elderly directing their expenditures to pets for reasons of companionship. Then there is the submarketing area of pet spending. Primary to this sector is food, where in excess of $10 billion is spent on everything from premium chow to the less expensive pet food found in supermarkets, with brands such as Alpo and Friskies.Now let's skip food and move to other revenue-producers. For example, sales include everything from canine jewelry, clothing and even footwear to toys and handmade beds, to name a few. If one were to even attempt to list all the items from soup to nuts it would far outpace the capacity of this column. So how does that affect the merchants of Queens?Needless to say that in this day of recession, inflation, uncertainty and struggling financial businesses this could be the answer to pet lovers if no one else. If managed properly, this industry is a gold mine in itself. The successful operative words to this business are concern and service. That's what really turns on the pet owner. So how's business in the marketing of pets?There is no doubt that this looks like the right business at the right time. From pet breeding to the distribution of pet food to the practice of that of a veterinarian, earnings potential look quite solid and promising for today as well as in the forthcoming future.Joe Palumbo is the fund manager for The Palco Group Inc., an investment company, and can be reached by e-mail at palcogroup@aol.com or by telephone at 718-461-8317.

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