Way back in 2009 I was coming to the end of my martial arts teaching career due a combination of injury and wear and tear. I was looking for something I could do as a career that did not involve working for someone else. I had had enough of that with previous employers and had been spoilt by being self employed as an electrician (which I hated) and a martial arts instructor (which I loved). It was whilst out delivering leaflets for my martial arts academy in Tewkesbury that I noticed that just about every every house (near enough) had some sign of animals. This one had a barking dog, that one had a cat flap, this one had a load of bird feeders, that one had a rabbit hutch. One even had a sign saying “beware of the snakes”! I have kept a huge range of animals throughout my life, have an honours degree in biology and have lectured on various courses on relevant subjects so even I was able to put two and two together and the idea of Angell Pets took form. I had no funding, no knowledge of how to start such as business or where to locate it but you don’t become a martial arts instructor unless you are quite driven. Within a few weeks I had resolved all the problems I could think of and formed a company and our Gloucester pet shop was born.
I borrowed a lot of money against an old endowment policy I’d had for years, and incorporated the company on 23/06/09. We then found a suitable property close to home in Abbeymead, purchased all the shelving, tills and everything else you need for a shop, sourced suppliers, enrolled on the courses needed to obtain a licence, commissioned a website and jumped right in. The whole process, from forming the company to opening the doors of our first Gloucester pet shop took just under 6 months and we finally opened on 17th of December 2009.
We stayed in our first shop in Mead Road for the next five years. Over that time we introduced new services such as free home delivery, a webstore, a new information website, an offers email list and our Facebook page. Despite being launched during a double dip recession, the business thrived and grew every month. Unfortunately, when the lease came up for renewal the landlord wanted the property back for themselves and we had to look for a new location quite quickly. We thought we had found a good new spot at the quays and managed to move the entire business across in only two days! (although there was a couple of months of late nights preparing the new premises and decorating the old).
Unfortunately we did not take into account the stupidity of Gloucester City Council who, at the behest of the Quays development and against the wishes of smaller local businesses, decided to close the local carpark and promptly killed our business overnight. This happened 6 months after we moved in and cut our takings in half. We were tied into a lease for a minimum of 3 years so spent the next 2 1/2 years just scraping by. If it hadn’t been for the launch of our boarding service we would have gone under. Thanks Gloucester City Council.
As soon as we were able to get out of our lease (not cheaply, it cost thousands) we did and found our current property in Hucclecote. The move was not so easy this time. Both properties needed a lot of very expensive works. The Hucclecote site was an old Barclays branch and their contractors wrecked the inside of the building taking out their kit, plus maintenance of the building had not been kept up. They also left behind the vault door which alone cost a few thousand to remove. Worse was the work we had to do on the old property. In order to implement the break clause in our lease we had to carry out a lot of remedial work. Every piece of wood had to be glossed, every wall emulsioned, every piece of flooring replaced (3000 sq ft), shutters that had not been touched in the the 20 years before we got there serviced, the roof cleared of years of debris and repaired where it had been damaged from people going up there without permission (now you know why I was annoyed when the rugby painting on the cafe next door was put up without any consultation with us – it cost me £450 in repairs). Unfortunately most of this work was a complete waste of time and money. We knew, even as we were carrying out the works that the new tenants were going to rip most of it out and sure enough, one week after moving I looked in to see half the new flooring pulled up and stacked ready to go to the tip.
It was whilst carrying out the remedial works (fitting the carpet tiles that are now buried in the ground at the landfill site) that I injured my spine. This is what was responsible for us having to stop our free local delivery service, I can no longer walk too well and lifting anything is out of the question. I managed to keep it going during the move, when we were operating from a storage unit but had no option but to cease it when, whilst painting a piece of skirting in the new shop I was unable to get up because my legs were too weak. After finally going to the doctors I have been diagnosed with a reasonably serious condition that is not going to improve. I also became quite ill last summer so Billie stepped up and has been running the company since, doing all the work that at one point we had six staff (including myself) doing. George has also been helping out when he can and even Albert stepped in during a break in his studies.
However, despite all the problems with recessions, leases, idiot councillors and illness lining up to hold us back, we have made it to 10 years of our Gloucester pet shop and are still going strong. To mark this anniversary we will be having lots of offers on between now and December in celebration. This will be in additon to, not instead of, our regular monthly deals we already offer. Ever since we opened we have made sure even our usual prices have remained competitive and with all the offers coming up, there will be some real bargains. Like our Facebook page or sign up to our email list to be kept up to date with the latest bargain.
So visit us in our Gloucester pet shop at Glenville Parade in Hucclectoe. Lots of FREE parking and right on the number 10 bus route.
The Angell Pets Team