Everyone is aware of the ongoing energy crisis and everyone is effected in one way or another. The obvious and I am sure, most important to our customers is the dramatic rise and subesequent caps and governement support for residential energy consumers.
Whilst the rises have been large, domestic charges have been capped and payments of at least a few hundred pounds are being made available for all domestic users. Not so business. Business accounts have no protection to date against these unprecedented rises. It seems that, as there is a limit to what can be charged to domestic customers the power companies have pushed the increases onto businesses. The actual size of the increase is unprecedented and I strongly suspect that a lot of small and medium businesses will cease trading this winter as they struggle to deal with these exhorbitant rises in costs.
I cannot speak for any other business as each negotiates its own deal with its supplier but I can outline what has happened in our case and detail the changes we have been forced into and those we are currently considering.
At the beginning of the year our unit charge for electricity was 15.95p/kWhr and our bill for the month of January, the middle of winter, was £492. In March this year our tarriff doubled and March’s bill (a warmer, lower usage month) was £796. In April in went up again by another 14p/kWhr. Our bill for May 2021 was £278. May 2022 was £1074 so up until yesterday we were paying 300% more for our electricity. It’s imprtant to note that price increases in our products during this period were not a result of these increases. They were caused by direct increases in puchase price of those products from our suppliers and increases in delivery charges. We absorbed all of the energy cost increases into the business by making some changes in the shop to try to offset at least some of it.
We are now at the limit of what we are able to do with those changes and today (8th Sept.) our unit charge doubled again. We are now paying nearly 600% more for electricity than we were at the beginning of the year. Without some drastic changes May 2023 charges are going to be around £2200 for one month. I hate to think what the winter months will be.
Obviously this is not sustainable for any business and we have been forced to take steps to offset the increases by a selection of measures. Unfortunately some of these involve increasing some prices but we have avoided this wherever possible. I have detailed below what we have done to mitigate these extraordinary increases (and future,further increases),
At the beginning of the year we invested £1300 in new display freezers. Under the new tarriff these freezers would now be costing us over £100 per day to run. Currently we have removed all the stock to cheaper storage freezers and switched the display freezers off until prices fall again. Obviously this decision was not taken lightly as £1300 is a significant investement to right off for a business of our size.
After todays increase we have recalculated the cost of running even the storage freezers and the money generated to the business by the products stored in them. Even the storage freezer we are using for the dog food is costing us £45 per month. If we sell all the products currently stored in this freezer within this time period we will just about break even for the month. In other words selling frozen dog food is not generating any income for the business, even with the recent price increases customers have seen. The only way we could continue to sell these products and make a profit would be to further increase the selling price by aproximately 50% and no one is going to want to pay that. We have therefore made the decision to continue selling frozen dog food for the time being whilst these rediculously high energy prices continue or some sort of support becomes available for business. However if there are further increases in energy costs to us we will, once current stocks have gone, have to switch this freezer off for the foreseable future.
Hopefully no one has noticed but we have removed around half of the shop lights. Each unit has four tubes and we have removed two from each unit. I will be looking at the sodium lamps tomorrow to see which of these can also be removed without effecting the customer experience too much.
We have 10 tropical fish tanks and we have changed half of these to temperate tanks. Under the new tarriff this saves us nearly £400 a month.
We are reviewing the number of reptiles we hold on site in the shop. We are likely to drop the holding to a few display species and publish a list of what else we can offer to order. I won’t publish the savings here as it rather depends on which vivaria we keep swiched on as they all have different power needs.
We are looking at pricing of our animals to better reflect the actual cost to us of each one, including the cost of keeping them in store rather than just the purchase price.
We will be forced to increase our boarding fees for reptiles with immediate effect to £6 per day. This represents a 100% increase on what we charged at the beginning of the year but remember, the cost to us of caring for these animals has increased by 600% in electricity alone. Food and substrate prices have also increased this year.
We are carrying out a review of all our prices to ensure that whilst some increases are going to be necessary, we remain competitive compared to others. We are routinely better value than the large chain pet stores and we intend to stay that way.
This is a difficult time for everyone and we really do appreciate the understanding of our loyal customers. We rely on you to keep the business afloat and want to reassure everyone that we are doing everything possible to keep prices down but I’m afraid that it’s impossble to avoid increases completely.
So far we have only had one or two unfortunate comments on the recent price increases that were trying to suggest we were profiting in some way from the situation. I can assure everyone at the moment that we, like a lot of other small businesses, are currently working merely to increase the profits of Shell, BP and the like, not our own. Everything we make currently goes on paying their bosses bonuses, not ours. Until energy prices fall or the government steps in to stop this profiteering this will continue to be the case, if we all manage to stay in business until then that is.
Many reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates require livefood (insects and other invertebrates) as a whole or part of their diet. Some mammals such as pygmy hedgehogs do to. At Angell Pets we have stocked a range of livefood options since we opened over 13 years ago.
We often get new customers who have been buying their livefood either on line or at a chain store comment on the quality, condition and price of our livefood when they first come in. Our pre-existing customers have obviously been benefitting from this qualityfor some time and know why they shop with us. How do we keep our prices down and quality up? Well hard work and care mainly
Sticking a box of livefood on a shelf and leaving it there until a customer picks it up is just about it for most outlets. Not us. When we get the livefood in from one of our high quality suppliers (on their own temperature controlled vehicles, not via courier where the heat of summer or cold of winter decimates the stock before it even arrives) it is first inspected for quality. Any substandard packs are removed and not put onto our shelves. Fortunately for us this is a rare occurence and is usually where a tub lid may have come off in transit. The tubs of livefood are then fed, usually with a thin slice of organic carrot, before putting on the shelf for sale. It would be easy to just put in a large slice and leave it at that for the week but it is important that all the food is eaten before it has a chance to spoil. Too large a piece and it will start to rot and spoil the tub of livefood. For this reason we revisit each and every tub three times a week to remove any uneaten food, replace with a fresh slice and also remove any moulted skins from the insects (crickets, locusts, mealworms, morio worms etc.). This is very time consuming and fiddly but essential if we are to keep up our excellent standard of livefood that our customers have come to expect. As I write this blog it is a bank holiday Monday. When I have finished the first draft here I am off to the shop to feed and water the animals (reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals and fish) and yes, feed all the livefood tubs on the shelf.
Toward the end of the week, especially in the large and extra large sizes during the summer months, some of the tubs will have grown into adults or started to deteriorate. We then go through every tub, removing any dead insects and replacing with live ones (consolidating the tubs) to ensure a tub bought on a Wednesday afternoon is as good as a tub bought on a Thursday morning when the fresh delivery arrives. We also consantly review the numbers ordered and we have become quite good at ensuring we order just enough to keep stock on the shelf for the week and are just running out when the new stock arrives so the tubs are never older than a week and look as fresh as when delivered.
Why do we go to all this effort. Well, the main reason is it is important the the food you feed your animal is as full of nutrients as possible. Just being alive is not enough. A starving, dehydrated locust, with an empty gut and not enough energy to really move let alone grow is not as benificial to your animal as one that is fit and healthy. Also by keeping our tubs of livefood well fed and hydrated we ensure we lose very little stock to spoilage. Each tub lost is a tub not sold so effects the return on our investment. By ensuring spoilage is at a minimum we are able to control costs to the business and keep the price to our customers down. Finally although reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates such as tarantulas do require livefood to survive we believe we have a responsibility to these insects whilst they are in a our care. Just letting a tub die because “they are just crickets” doesn’t wash with us.
We hope you as a customer share our views on the importance of looking after livefood for the benefit of you and your animal and look forward to seeing you during the week when you can be confident that you are getting the best quality for the best possible price.
We have a very special offer on Acana dog treats whilst stocks last. These high protien, grain free treats form part of a healthy diet for the most discerning of dogs.
Acana High Protein Dog Treats come in 100g bags and usually retail at £3.49. We have them on offer at 99p a bag. This offer is limited to what we have in stock and is on a first come first served basis. The offer is available in store, on line in our webstore or as a telephone order. FREE local delivery is available on all orders over £10 but these orders must be placed over the telephone.
So grab a few bags whilst they are still available. As with all our offers this will be very popular and stocks of Acana high protien dog treats will not last long at this price.
Everyone is aware of the huge increase in the cost of living at the moment. Sadly we are not exempt from these increases. Increases in fuel and energy prices (ours have over trebled May 2021 – £350 electricity bill, May 2022 £1104!), rises in employment costs and the effects of Covid are just some of the pressures on price. The war in the Ukraine is an additional element that particularly effects some of our most popular products, wild bird foods. Anything containing sunflower seed has seen massive increases in wholesale price as supplies from this region disappear. 80% of sunflower seed comes from the Ukraine. With these supplies seriously curtailed, demand on the remaining 20% of world supply has been at levels that have inevitably driven up the price. Despite all these pressures our products remain much lower that those found in chains such as Pets At Home.
(Price comparison carried out 25/07/22 between Pets at Home website and Angell Pets website angellpets.co.uk and in store pricing.)
So even though global pressure has resulted in price increases recently, the good news is that despite this and despite us not having the buying power of the large chains, we have still been able to compete on price and in many cases massively out perform them.
So you could drive a few miles, using up your very expensive fuel to shop at an expensive out of town chain store. Alternatively you could stay local and use an independent, family run store, staffed by people who know the products and can give expert advice and pay significantly less into the bargain
I delivered an order this evening to one of our oldest customers (FREE local delivery on orders over £10). By using us instead of a chain store she saved herself £30 and received an extra 750g delivered to her door, so no fuel costs. Seems like a no brainer to me but hey! I’m biased I guess.
If you wish to place an order just call us on 01452501882 for FREE local delivery or order on line for in store collection. Of course we would love to see you in store in person too.
We are having a bit of a clear out to make way for new stock again. We have several great special offers on various items to clear space.
This Moderna hooded cat litter tray with carbon filter is £8 off RRP. It is missing the litter scoop. We have one with the litter scoop which is still £4 off RRP.
This Savic Bristol hamster cage. It has one bar joint broken (bottom left of door) but is still secure. £10 off RRP.
This Critters Choice glasss animal enclosure. Would suit mice or dwarf hamsters. This item is undamaged but this line has been discontinued by the manufacturer. This is the last one we have.A massive £30 off RRP.
This Viv Exotic AAL vivarium, It has a small chip off the edge of one of the glass doors. RRP £104.99, offer price £74.99, a saving of £25.
These Komoda Ecology 4′ x 2′ vivariums. These high quality wooden vivariums are suitable for arid species of lizard such as leopard geckos, bearded dragons etc. or snakes such as corn snakes, milk snakes etc. This was a manufacturers offer that we have passed on to our customers. RRP £225.99, offer price £179.99, saving £46. We have three of these available.
This Habistat glass vivarium 60x45x45 cm. RRP was £162.99, offer price £139.99, saving £23. If you compare it to our more popular Exo Terra range it is a saving of £77 for the equivalent item. Also with the Exo Terra you have to buy the lock separately, with the Habistat is is built in. This item is undamaged but is taking up shelf space wanted for other items. Great chance to start a bio active vivarium.
Finally this Monkfield snake starter set up, complete with heating, substrate, hide etc. RRP £161.99, offer price £139.99. This one is basically just in the way.
From experience, when we do offers like these they do not hang around for long so if you are interested please pop in and see us ASAP. Free local delivery is available on all these items subject to our delivery schedule..
There is a lot of noise being made about a recall of frozen rodents for reptiles at the moment. There have been a number of cases of salmonella food poisoning loosely linked to reptile owners. Tests have revealed that one supplier has had salmonella found in the frozen rodents they supply to the trade. As a result, several businesses have been forced to recall their stock if they use this supplier.
We have never used this supplier for frozen rodents and so have not been directly effected by this recall. Our own supplier regularly tests for salmonella throughout their process and at the time of writing all tests continue to prove negative. So far so good.
However, as some of the businesses effected (such as Pets at Home) are quite large and as their customers are having to find new shops to purchase their own supplies from; this is now effecting the rest of the supply chain. Additional pressure is being applied as shops that were effected by the poor quality of their existing supplier are having to find better, safer supplies elsewhere. We are now seeing shortages in our supply chain as this increased demand all round starts to bite.
Whilst we still have large supplies in store, we are now seeing shortages in some sizes when re-ordering. We have fresh deliveries every week so these shortages will soon start to become apparent. Obviously we are also seeing increased demand as other shops’ customers start coming to us to find supplies.
Please make sure you get your supplies early, before you run out of your own stocks at home as over the next few weeks we do invisage running low of some sizes, particularly of mice.
Of course, even though our supplies have proved negative for salmonella it is always necessary to wash your hands after handling any animal. I am sure I don’t have to tell our own customers to wash their hands after handling a dead rat and before putting your hands anywhere near your face, work surfaces or food but apparently it seems there are about 900 people since 2015 that did need telling because they clearly didn’t do it!
We have stocked Natures MenuRaw Feed for a number of years. In our opinion “Raw is Best”, closely followed by grain free kibble for those without the time and sadly in my case, memory to defrost food daily. The domestic dog’s closest relative is the wolf, not the chicken, so food containing wheat and maize should be avoided (most supermarket brands). It is put in for the manufacturers’ benefit, not the dogs (a filler that keeps costs down) and if the packaging mentions “meat and animal derivitives”, well, best put it in the bin, it is not meat as you know it.
This week we took delivery of a further two raw food freezers and moved our old freezers out the back, effectively doubling our stock holding of frozen dog, reptile and fish food. The new freezers are also display types so it is easier to see what we have in stock (and for us to find it!).
Our reasons for investing in new new equipment are mainly because, as more and more people see the benefits of feeding their dog a more natural diet, our sales of our ranges of raw and grain free foods continues to grow at pace and we just need the extra storage to keep up with demand. It also allows us to expand the raw feed ranges even further in the future.
If your dog has issues around food senitivity, either skin or digestive and it is more common than you may think, do pop in for some advice from our trained staff. It is amazing how many itchy skin, recuring ear infections, paw licking and loose stool problems are down to feeding food filled with wheat and maize. Just hink how much you can save in vets bill for repeated visits and how much more comfortable you dog will be.
We also have some FREE Natures Menu Raw Feed freezer bags for the next few customers that purchase from our new Natures Menu Raw Feed freeezers.
Billie has left temporarilly on maternity leave. Whist she is away we will be short staffed and her duties (pretty much everything to do with running the business) will have to be picked up by me. So whilst she is away we have introduced lunchtime closing from 12:30 to 13:00 every day. Appologies for any inconvenience but I gotta eat (tried seeing if I could go without lunch – not happening).
As the Government begins easing lockdown we have had another look at our opening times. We have put off the decision until now in case there was a need to re-enter lockdown, we didn’t want to keep extending and then reducing hours all the time. The first easing measure was the return of kids to school. We have monitored the situation and it seems very unlikely that this decision is going to be reversed, which means parents want to be able to call after picking up their kids. In the next couple of weeks, non essential shops will be reopening and as the vaccination program progresses at pace, the number of our own customers still needing local deliveries continues to fall.
With all this in mind, now seems like the best time to extend our opening hours back to pre-COVID levels.We have been working hard, remaining open throughout the pandemic and adding the additional evening delivery service. That’s why we will be taking full advantage of the Easter break to recharge and come back next week with extended opening hours.
Opening hours this weekend and onwards are as folows
Thursday 01/04/21 – 10am to 4pm
Good Friday – CLOSED
Saturday 03/04/21 – 10am – 4pm
Easter Sunday – CLOSED
Bank Holiday Monday – CLOSED
Tuesday 06/04/21 – Back to old hours – 10am – 5:30pm Tuesday to Saturday (1pm – 5:30pm Mondays)
Billie will also be going off for a few weeks on maternity leave at some time in April/May so there may be a need to introduce a lunchtime closing at that time but we’ll wait and see.