When we originally opened Angell Pets In 2009 it was in a location with ample FREE parking. This was our first location and so we had no idea how much the provision of this free parking was having on our trade. We knew that we were attracting a wide range of customers. Local foot and cycle traffic from the surrounding estates, customers from other areas of Gloucester and customers from further afield. However what we did not know was how much having the free parking was contributing to this business. When we were forced to move from this location at the end of the lease we found a larger shop close to the city centre but about a 100 yards from a large carpark. This was not free but had lots of spaces.
Moving locations effected our turnover significantly, as we expected it would, reduding it by around 40% in the first month. However, with hard work we were able to drive turnover back up to almost pre move levels over the next 6 months. Then Gloucester City Council, at the behest of the Quays, closed the carpark. The effect was dramatic and overnight. Turnover dropped by over 50% and nothing we could do would drive it back up, including having a FREE local delivery service. We did raise an objection to the closure beforehand but the response from the council was “we have done research and it shows the effect on local business will be negligible”. Well, we did not find a 50% reduction in trade negligible. We made a decision there and then to move again and find a location with free parking. However we were tied into a lease for three years before we could action a break clause so we ran our business on half what we were used to for two and a half years before moving again. We are still feeling the financial fallout from this.
Our new location in Hucclecote has plenty of FREE parking. It is also within walking distance of large residential areas and in a convenient location for access to customers coming from further afield by car or bus. We have been open here for 6 months now and takings have risen every month, without fail, since we opened. We have had a host of customers returning who used to use us but stopped when the carpark near our last shop was closed plus lots of new local customers and even more from other towns such as Stroud, Cheltenham, Hereford, Ross and Worcester. All have indicated that at least part of the reason for coming was ease of access and free parking.
Before writing this I did some research and worryingly, most of the advice councils use to determine parking policy suggests that providing free parking does not boost trade and that charging for parking does! Most also suggests that providing more spaces does not help and some even suggests that providing more spaces and/or free spaces actually drives people away. Well our findings aren’t based on surveys or questionaires but on real experience and data and I can assure the councils that customers don’t like having parking restricted or being over charged and that they really do appreciate having ample spaces offered to them for free.
I would suggest that until councils review the advice they are taking to set parking policy we will continue to see trade driven away from city centres. Great for business like us now though with ample free parking right outside our front door!
I haven’t really posted much recently about our Gloucester pet shop. This has been due to the huge amount of work we have had to do involved with moving premises. I often get asked why we are moving and in fact still get asked why we moved from our original pet shop in Abbeymead. Well, it’s certainly not a decision we have ever taken lightly. The amount of work involved is tremendous and it is extremely expensive so we have only done it when forced to.
The original location for our Gloucester Pet Shop In Abbeymead was ideal for us and our customers. Right in the middle of a large housing development, withing walking distance of home, with a large free car park, close to other local amenities. The rent was way above market rate however and we were subletting from the people who were responsible for that. We have now had two subsequent properties, both of which are larger but are less rent and rates than Abbeymead. In the end we were forced to move from there, not through our own choice but because the lease expired and our landlord would not renew it as they wanted the premises for themselves.
The next location of our Gloucester pet shop was in Southgate Street. When we first moved our takings dipped significantly. This was not a surprise, it’s like starting a new business. Over the next six months we grew the business back to a level only just below that in Abbeymead. However we then had the rug pulled from under us by Gloucester City Council. At the behest of the Quays development they closed the nearest car park. I objected at the time but was told “we’ve carried out research and it shows that closing the car park will have a negligible effect on local businesses”. I don’t think anyone’s definition of negligible would include wiping 50% off our takings, virtually overnight. You can’t believe how frustrating it was to hear “the parking’s rubbish round here” every day! We had to move in order to survive. Unfortunately, as we were tied into the lease for three years we still had another 2 years to wait out with very little income. Our staff level went from a peak of 6 down to 2. On top of that the daily threat of violence toward staff from the idiots that frequent that area becomes a bit much, especially when your not getting paid to put up with it!
Anyway that is all behind us now and yesterday we opened a new Gloucester pet shop in Hucclecote. Well, we opened phase one. There is a lot of work to do on this property due to the condition it was left in by the previous tenant so we are having to do it in stages. Phase one is the left half of the shop and we have restocked with the wide range of quality food and accessories we are known for. Billie is currently working on phase two, which is our boarding and quarantine facility. Once that is completed in the next week we can move onto phase 3 which is where we will be stocking the animals and opening the shop out to fit in more floor space.
So come visit us in our new Gloucester pet shop at 2-3 Glenville Parade, Hucclecote, Gloucester GL3 3ES. The shop space is larger again and we have ample FREE parking. It’s perfectly located for Hucclecote (obviously), Abbeydale and Abbeymead, Brockworth, Matson etc. and is close to and easilly from accessible from, Churchdown, Longlevens, Tuffley, actually anywhere is Gloucester and Cheltenham.
Angell Pets opened in 2009 with our first Gloucester pet shop in Abbeymead. We were there for five years but unfortunately had to move when our lease expired and our landlord would not renew it (they wanted the premises for their own business). We took this as an opportunity to expand our business by moving to a larger property by the Gloucester Quays that enabled us to further expand our range and add additional services to our Gloucester pet shop, such as boarding for small animals, birds and reptiles. When we moved in there was a large car park 50m away and things looked good for the future growth of our business.
Unfortunately we did not take into account the determination of Gloucester City Council to drive the small trader out of Gloucester in preference to the large out of town developments. The car park was closed 6 months after we moved in, despite the protestations of small businesses such as ours and the immediate result was a loss of 50% of our takings. We have been unable to get this business back and the frequent cry of “isn’t parking rubbish ’round here” has become like finger nails down a chalk board to us. Despite making large changes and reducing our overheads we are unable to sustain these losses so have got to move. It’s a shame because the premises itself was OK, just now in the wrong location and for other reasons too.
In addition to the parking fiasco, there are other reasons to move our Gloucester pet shop. Customers who follow us on Facebook will be aware of the issues we have had over the last three years with the power here. We have a lot of animals that rely on external heat and oxygenation. When the power goes off, it is a major issue for us and we have to do a lot of work keeping the animals safe and well. In addition we cannot trade without power which just adds to the financial pressure on the business. During the worst outage (14 hours), I had to bring up extra heating and insulation for the reptiles and stay at the shop until midnight, manually stirring the fish tanks to keep them oxygenated, all in the dark. It is 2017 for goodness sake and we have had more power cuts than the winter of discontent (yes, I am old enough to remember that).
Another major issue is the council and police’s inability to keep Gloucester City safe. We have had numerous incidents in the shop and in town whilst posting orders. Staff have been verbally and physically abused and threatened. It is unsafe for me to be absent from the premises as we never know when the next moron (or gang of morons!) is going to come in. Staff have been threatened with everything from spitting to having their throats slit. We have seen a woman outside the shop front beaten to the ground and punched whilst still down (losing teeth!) and no action has ever been taken by the police other than to “move them on”, in fact the operator told us that if I went out to the woman’s assistance I would be arrested. I can’t risk the safety of our staff. Also the level of theft is too high for us to sustain here as well.
So enough of the negatives, now the positive. We are moving again in October and it’s closer to our original customer base. The main thing is that there is ample FREE PARKING. Our new premises is likely to be in Hucclecote. The new location of our new Gloucester Pet Shop is ideal to serve our traditional customer base of Abbeymead and Abbeydale, Matson, Upton, Barnwood, Hucclecote, Longlevens, Churchdown and Brockworth. We will of course be maintaining our FREE LOCAL DELIVERY service for our customers in and around Gloucester, in Cheltenham and in Painswick. Of course our UK wide customers will not be affected by the move at all, other than to have wider choice.
So, onward and upward! Come and see us in our new Gloucester Pet Shop when it opens, even if it is just to have a nosey at the new place. It will take a little while to get everything just the way we want it and initially we may be running the two premises at the same time whilst I spend my nights moving fixtures, fittings and stock across.
Gloucester Victorian Market is on from the 17th November 2016 to 20th November 2016. This is immediately followed by Gloucester Christmas Market until 24th December 2016. The markets are held in the old car park outside the National Waterways museum and the surrounding public areas of Gloucester Docks and Gloucester Quays.
Attractions at the Gloucester Victorian and the Gloucester Christmas Market
The popular Gloucester Victorian Market and the Gloucester Christmas Marketoffer a wide range of shopping opportunities to get something different in the run up to Christmas.They have the added benefit of the entrance to the docks and quays areas being right past the front door of our shop in Llanthony Road.
So if you are looking to find some Christmas presents and to enjoy the ambience of the Gloucester VIctorian Market or Gloucester Christmas Market you can also take the opportunity to pop in and see us in our store by the quays.
Location of Gloucester Victorian and Gloucester Christmas Market
We are OPEN seven days a week, right up to 5:30pm on Christmas Eve and our store is situated only 50 meters from the main market area and ice rink. So when you have got cold looking round the stalls in the Gloucester Victorian Market or Gloucester Christmas Market, pop in and have a warm next to the vivs!