Feb 19, 2007
Pet products stand out at gift fair; Annual event lets retailers see what might leap off shelvesBy Carrie SturrockSan Francisco Chronicle

It was at the San Francisco International Gift Fair that the Pet Rock was discovered in the mid-1970s, and later the Cabbage Patch Kid.

Now 54 years old, the fair — which opened Saturday and ends Wednesday — is an institution for the kinds of unique stuff nobody needs but retailers hope lots of people want: pricey brooms with braided handles, decorative balls covered in seashells, handmade dog treats, silver piggy banks and hemp wallets.

Although the vast majority of gift shop and boutique owners trolling for sellable treasures hail from California, retailers are making the pilgrimage from around the country to Moscone Center to stock those unusual items sure to lure customers back.

It’s not clear what this year’s craze is, but one growing market is the world of high-end pet products.

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