We wondered why we keep selling out of dried mealworms and other wild bird food so we had a look about. We couldn’t believe the prices other shops are charging. PAH are charging over twice as much as us for 500g bags of dried mealworms! How a large company like that, with much better buying power than little old us can justify it is beyond me. Anyway, here are some examples of price comparisons. Please note; these are not special offers or discounted lines, just our regular prices.
Not quite sure why anyone would drive all the way out to these facelss chainstores when you can get it cheaper in an independant local shop, the power of multi million pound advertising campaigns I suppose and I guess there is the reason for the hicked prices.
Plastic carrier bags are going from Angell Pets very soon so we can do our bit to reduce the amount of plastic finding its way into the environment.
We have been trying to figure out how to reduce the use of plastic bags in our shop for a while now. There are only two effective ways to do this:-
1) To charge for the bags to encourage customers to bring their own re-usable bags or
2) Get rid of them completely and try an alternative.
We have chosen to go with option number 2, although this will actually cost us more! Once our current stock of plastic bags has run out we will not be getting any more in.
We didn’t want to start charging for bags as this would cause disagreements at the till, with some customers not wanting to pay as it is not yet law for small shops and in any event we would still be giving out the plastic bags.
Instead will be providing small paper bags (one per transaction). Paper bags actually cost us quite a lot more. For example a decent paper bag (shown) costs us around 8-9p each, where as the same size plastic bag costs us 1-2p. However the paper bags we can provide are not very large so we are asking customers to help us reduce non recycleable waste by bringing your own “bag for life” just like you would do at the super market.
We still have a small stock of plastic bags to use up (may as well get a use out of them; if we hand them out or throw them in the bin they are still going to end up in land fill).
For the time being our 1kg bagged up food will still be in polythene bags until we can find a suitable alternative. We are trialing something but it may take a few goes to get the right product.The product we got in to try this week won’t really work so we will use them for frozen rats and mice instead.
With the move from Southgate Street to our new shop in Hucclecote we have been unable to stock birds. Birds have a very efficient respiratory system, the down side of which is that they are susceptible to anything airborn. We have been decorating various sections of the shop since we moved in and so have been unable to stock birds due to the paint fumes. This is now completed in the main shop area and so we are now able to re-stock with birds.
The first of the birds came in last week and we now have the following in stock:-
Now we are back in a permanent base we have relaunched our wholesaler’s monthly offers scheme. We are cheaper than Pets at Home and Jolleys for most things anyway but these offers beat on line suppliers too. If you add on the savings you get with our customer loyalty scheme (effectively an additional 2.5% off everything you have bought) it make our prices even more attractive. With FREE car parking and friendly, knowledgable service, why go anywhere else? Don’t forget, if we don’t have what you normally buy in stock we can probably get it. We are a small, independant business and that means we can be extremely flexible with what we stock.
As a bonus for April, we have launched these offers early and they are avaiable in store and on line from today.
Recently there have been some high profile closures of some large retail names and reports of yet others getting into serious difficulties. There are lots of reasons companies get into problems and I am sure that for some of these undertakings there may have been management issues but the main cause is being put down to a failure to respond to, or at least being slow to respond to, changes in their customers’ shopping habits.
There are two main reasons usually given. One is the percieved switch to on line shopping. This could obviously effect us. However with on line shopping, the customer is normally just buying a product they have seen elsewhere and that does not require any forethought. With us it is a little different. We sell some quite specialist products that need an expert to explain the choices available to the customer and in the case of animals we do not sell these on line at all, as we do not believe anyone should buy an animal they have not seen before. Also we are not comfortable couriering animals to people we have never met as we feel we have a responsibility to the animal. Obviously not everything we sell needs this level of support and so we do have an on line web store as well, for the convenience of our more distant customers and so people can see what we stock.
The other reason given is a bit of a more recent change but is having a huge effect on everyone from superstores and supermarkets to any chain with a mainly out of town presence. Customers are shifting to smaller, more local shopping trips instead of large weekly or monthly expeditions to the out of town complexes. Shops like Toys R Us, Maplin, Countrywide have all now gone or are in serious trouble as well as a lot of restaurant chains that tend to inhabit these out of town retail parks.
This change is also effecting our section of the industry. In the past the trend has been away from local pet shops to larger chains on retail parks. This is changing. Customers are starting to recognise the convenience of a local store and the better levels of service and advice they can get. In our case we are actually more competitive on price as well. For customers it is starting to become a bit of a no brainer. Why travel a few miles to a faceless chainstore, staffed in the main by retail assistants with nothing more than a basic level of knowledge of the pets they are selling and the products they need and then to pay more for the privilege as well!
So it was nice timing for us to have moved away from the Quays area, with its over priced shops and poor parking, to a local precinct with ample free parking, close to our main customer base but with good links to further afield. Of course you could always drive all the way out to a pet supermarket if you want but why pay more?
We have stocked Ezy Dog products for some time, however as part of our restocking of the new shop we have to make a bit of space. With this in mind we are offering all our remaining stock of Ezy Dog collars, leads and harnesses at half price.
This offer is open to in store and web customers. It is only for existing stock so do get in quick before the items go.
Following on from our move to Hucclecote we are now growing our list of livestock in store and available to order. Every now and then I post the current list. I don’t do it too often as it changes almost daily but a quick post of what we currently have is often welcomed by our customers.
We do not have birds or fish at present. We can’t stock birds until we have finished painting because of the fumes and the area where the fish are going has only just been re-plastered ready for the tanks to go in. Obviously the tanks have to be matured before we can put fish in them.
Please note this list is only what we have in store and does not include the much larger range available to order.
So here is the current list as it stands today, it will be changing tomorrow.
Unfortunately, due to ill health we are having to temporarily suspend our popular free local delivery service with immediate effect.
Whist carrying out remedial works to our old property, prior to leaving I developed a few symptoms in my legs that have progressively worsened over the last few months during the move. After being persuaded by the family to get it checked out I have been informed that I have some rather serious damage to my spine that is going to require surgery. So, for the time being I have been forbidden to lift or carry anything and will not be able to for a few months after the required surgery.
I appreciate that the service is relied on by many customers but the injury is such that it could suddenly become life changing. I hope everyone understands that I cannot take that chance and need to have the surgery ASAP to prevent that happening. In fact the doctor originally told me I had to go in that night when she saw the results of the scan, so it’s quite bad.
We do have one or two disabled customers that cannot make it into the shop and we have taken steps to ensure these few customers can still receive their deliveries but as this is in Billie’s little Ka we can only do this for a select few who really can’t get to us.
We have a few deliveries already booked for this week and these will still be done by Billie but that will be it for a few months at least.
Sorry for the inconvenience but we now have a large car park and are much more accessible for most customers to collect in store. I have also changed the website this morning from the free local delivery option to collect in store, so customers that like to place their orders on line still can.