The largest of the 70 or so species/sub species of the Phelsuma genus. This fascinating bright green, usually red spotted, arboreal gecko comes originally from the north area of Madagascar. As the name suggests this is a diurnal (active by day) lizard. It feeds mainly on insects, smaller vertebrates and some nectar. The Madagascan Giant Day Gecko hunts through the branches and leaves and has the lamellar pads on their toes that make geckos (some) famous for being able to climb vertical surfaces and even hang up side down from leaves and ceilings. In captivity they have no problem running round the glass sides of a suitable vivarium. Anyone considering a bioactive set up would do well to consider the day geckos. I had this set up myself with a breeding pair of Giant Day Geckos (Phelsuma grandis) and it looked the business.
The Madagascan Gian Day Gecko is arboreal so height is as important as floor space. The larger the enclosure the better but as a minimum 60cm long by 60cm high. They can grow up to 30cm (male) although not always. Females are usually a couple of inches smaller. As already stated, they are very agile. They can also be very fast and will shoot out through an open vivarium door if you’re not careful. If they do then you are left chasing a very quick lizard around your walls and ceiling, at my age not that easy. They are known for being escape artists, you have been warned.
If using a wooden vivarium you will need to ensure it is well sealed. These are tropical/sub tropical lizards and the humidity will blow the panels if not properly sealed. I prefer glass for these and similar animals because they are better suited to to the humidity and for spraying the plants and gecko with water. Also, unless you are using some sort of tray liner, wood or more properly melamine) is not suitable for a bio active setups. There are at least four readily available brands of glass vivarium/terrarium currently in the UK (and we have accounts with all of them) and a host of custom builders.
Madagascan Day Geckos are tropical/sub tropical lizards so some form of heating is essential to the continued health of the lizard. Which ever form of heating is used, a temperature gradient across the vivarium will allow the gecko to thermoregulate. Nearly all reptiles are poikilothermic. That is their internal body temperature varies with the temperature of their surroundings (unlike us homeotherms who maintain a stable internal body temperature). They need a hot end (30-32C in the basking area) and a cold end (24-25C) with a gradient in between so they can position themselves to warm up and cool down as required. There are a variety of heating products on the market that can achieve this but I will just outline one method here (with variation depending on budget) as it is the one I tend to use.
A heat mat, mounted to the side of the vivarium to give background heat. This can be left on day and night and connected to a thermostat to switch it off if temperatures get too high (more likely in the day time – why will be clear in a second). A second heat (and light) source, at the same end as the heat mat, mounted above the mesh of the vivarium lid, in the form of a basking lamp. This gives a “hot spot” for the gecko to bask in when it wants to warm up and if a UVA lamp is used it also helps stimulate natural behaviour and colour in the lizard. This lamp is only on during the day giving a day/night difference in temperatures.
Alternatively you could put the basking lamp on a dimmer stat. (dims it down if it gets to hot by reducing the voltage applied to the lamp, which has the added benefit of prolonging lamp life) and have a smaller mat on all the time for background heat. The second method gives finer control but a dimmer stat. is twice the cost of a mat stat. so… As long as the Madagascan Day Gecko is protected from over temperature, either will work fine. If using a wooden vivarium, all heat sources would need to be on a thermostat of some description as wood is a good insulator and will keep the heat in. Glass vivariums usually have mesh lids. Heat rises and escapes so the chances of dangerously high temperatures is much reduced.
Only house one male in an enclosure as males will fight. If housing a male and female together ensure you have a large enclosure with plenty of furniture to ensure the female can avoid the male when she wants. Constant attention form the male will at best cause distress and at worst physical injury.
Most of the food you are going to feed to your Madagascan Giant Day gecko is going to have a poor calcium/phosphorous ratio, namely live insects. This imbalance can be corrected by supplementing the diet with calcium in one form or another. However unless the correct levels of UVB light are supplied then this dietary calcium remains unavailable to the gecko. Animals (us included) use light in the UVB range of the spectrum to synthesize vitamin D3 in the skin. Vitamin D3 is used to metabolize calcium in the diet (and as we are all aware with the COVID pandemic, by the immune system). No vitamin D3, no calcium absorbed from food. The body then goes on the hunt for calcium as it is required by the nervous system and it will start to rob it from the only source left to it, the bones. This leads to a horrible, debilitating disorder called “metabolic bone disease”. The bones start to go thin and even bendy. Mild cases can be reversed but severe cases, even when conditions are corrected, will leave the gecko with deformed limbs and joints. It is painful, crippling and can be fatal and it is totally avoidable with the right UVB lighting. It is even worse in young, growing geckos as obviously they need more calcium to actively grow bones. A Madagascan Giant Day gecko is diurnal, so it is out in the partial sun all day. It is generally classed as a Ferguson zone 3 reptile which means it needs a UVI (UV index) range of 1.0 – 2.6 (Maximum UVI: 2.9 – 7.4 in basking zone).
Don’t worry too much about the technical details of this but the type of UVB lamp you use will depend on the set up of your vivarium and the positioning of the lamp. Not only are there differing strengths of UVB lamp (5%, 10% etc.) but different types, T8 tubes, T5 tubes, compact, mercury vapour, metal hallide. The important thing is that the gecko gets enough UVB light during the day. Unless you possess an expensive UVI meter to check the levels you can only go on a basic understanding of what you are buying.
If the lamp is going to be very close to the basking spot or area where the gecko spends most of the time then a 5% compact will work. If it is going to be a little further then a 10% would be better. If you wish to use a more spread out source then go for a tube. T5 tubes kick out more UVB than T8 tubes but are more expensive. Mercury vapour and metal hallide are probably too strong for this set up and generate a lot of heat, unless of course they are mounted much further away from the lizard. UVB does not travel far from the lamp and the level decays over distance. The stronger the lamp the further it will reach so Mercury vapour are better for ground dwelling species like tortoises or more specialized set ups (such as very large enclosures or rooms). If in any doubt speak to your local reptile shop. In the UK, as part of the license conditions (and you have to have a license to sell animals commercially here) all shops must have a UVI meter and record readings daily. They will know exactly what lamp you need for your set up. Note that ALL UVB lamps will need to be replaced annually. It may still light up but it will no longer be giving out sufficient UVB.
I mentioned UVA with reference to basking lamps in the heating section. UVA stimulates natural behavior and brings out colour. It does not facilitate vitamin D3 synthesis so a UVA lamp alone is not sufficient. They are different wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum. It may surprise you how many times, when asked what UV lamp they have, customers just have a basking lamp and when it is pointed out that that is mainly for heat and doesn’t provide UVB they tell me “it says UV on the box”.
What about UVC? Well that is the part of the spectrum responsible for skin damage and cancer. No lamps sold for reptiles as UVA or UVB generate any UVC.
All forms of lighting used should be on for around 12 hours a day and off at night to give a day/night cycle that will encourage natural behaviour and benefit the wellbeing of the Madagascan Day Gecko.
Feeding and Watering
I have already alluded to the diet of the Madagascan Giant Day Gecko. In the wild they eat insects, some vertebrates that are much smaller than themselves and nectar. This diet can be easily recreated in captivity. There is a a much wider range of commercially produced live insects on the market now than when I started keeping reptiles getting on for 50 (cough) years ago. I would recommend varying the diet. Don’t just feed one type of insect. They will take whatever they can get in the wild so swapping the food around a bit is good for them. Not only does it just provide a variety from a behavioral aspect but the insects themselves have different nutritional benefits. I am not going into detail of the different fat, protein, calcium, phosphorous etc. levels of all the available insects here, just vary what is presented and you will be OK. Also gut loading the insect before feeding to the gecko significantly boosts the nutritional content. The lizard eats the whole thing, including whatever the the insect has just eaten (so watch what plants you use that the insects might nibble on!). Just feed some carrot to small to medium small crickets for proof, they almost glow orange! Feeding veg. such as carrot, kale, lettuce, basil etc. will not only boost the vitamins and minerals available to the gecko but will also keep the insects alive. DO NOT let the veg. spoil though. This will wipe out the livefood pretty quickly. They will get sweaty and smelly and you have just wasted a couple of quid. Feed very small amounts frequently (should be all gone in a couple of hours or so) rather than a large chunk for the week.
For the nectar content of the diet there are commercially available powders that you just add water to and present in some sort of small container. Always make these up in small amounts daily and do not allow to spoil. They can also be used to gut load the insects. There also jelly pots available and the geckos seem to like these too.
I never bother with vertebrates. If you want you can try presenting a defrosted pinkie. The diet ours receive is well balanced enough to make this a bit pointless. Remember, in the UK it is illegal to feed live vertebrates to another animal (except under strictly defined circumstances that are not relevant here).
You can present water in a small bowl and the gecko will drink from it. However I prefer to spray the leaves of any fake or real plants at least daily and allow the gecko to drink from that. If you do use a bowl/dish or something flasher like a water fall set, make sure you keep the water fresh. In a warm environment with insects and gecko poop falling in it will get very nasty, very quickly.
People write books about this subject alone so I am only going to cover the basics. I tend to categorize set ups into three types.
Standard or basic. A suitable substrate on the floor, something that helps maintain a bit of humididity like Cresty Life or Coir mixed with bark chips. Your set up, your choice. Some people don’t use any substrate and just wipe the base daily. Fair enough, bit too boring and too much work for me but I guess it works if you spray more frequently. Fake plants both to spray for the Madagascan Day Gecko to drink from and to provide cover (plastic and silk are available, although I prefer silk as I think they look more “real”). A small container for the mixed food and away you go.
Does the job but it will need the substrate cleaning regularly. You can prolong the life by spot cleaning the gecko poop but I challenge any one to find the cricket faeces! After a couple of months it will start to pong a bit and you will start to get fungus growing which will be detrimental to health.
Standard set up but with added detrivores.
Detrivores are small invertebrates (at least in this case) that, well eat detritus. There are several species available that devour the faeces and break it down into nutrients available to plants. If you are using a standard set up with fake plants, you will still have to periodically clean out the substrate but much less frequently.
Bio Active Set Up
To do this properly I strongly recommend using a drainage layer. You can do it without but it is much more difficult to maintain the correct soil moisture content. Too dry and your plants will not thrive, too wet and you could lose the lot very quickly. Plus the soil could go anoxic, which apart from being unhealthy for the lizard, absolutely stinks.
On the bottom you place a reasonable layer of drainage material, usually clay balls. Over this you place a porous membrane or fleece layer to keep the substrate out of the drainage media. On top of this you place your substrate. For good plant growth use a quality forest media with added plant nutrients. I often put a watering tube through the substrate and membrane into the drainage media so water can be added directly to the media for the plants to access when they have established roots but you don’t have to. Add in your detrivores. I use different species (and different sized) woodlice, springtails (an even smaller species of isopod) and in the past have also used white worms (tiny, threadlike detrivores). These should thrive in the substrate and breakdown all the waste so bacteria can have a go and produce nutrients for your plants. Add plants suitable for the environment. There are so many available I am not going to this subject at all here but you want a variety of different heights. These can be planted directly into the substrate if it is deep enough. If you really want lush plant growth you may have to invest in a specialist lamp specifically for them. There are a number of brands making LED lamps for plant growth in vivariums and they all seem to work well. Your vivarium set up will dictate the size and power required. Spray a couple of times a day (more than you would in a basic set up, you are watering the plants too) and that’s it. OK, not really. You will become a bit of an indoor gardener but the gecko is going to love it and you don’t have to clean it out, just clean the water marks off the glass occasionally. Using rainwater reduces the amount of water marks generated and makes them easier to clean off – no mineral deposits.
This is often overlooked by new owners. By taking on any animal you are taking on a commitment to being responsible for that animal’s welfare for the entirety of its life. In the case of a Madagascan Giant Day Gecko this is usually around 8-12 years although there are reports of up to 20 years. If you can’t plan for this and budget for replacing equipment as it reaches the end of its life or fails then please don’t buy an animal at all. If you can then you have many years of observing these fascinating animals interacting with the forest you have created in your living rom.
Fortunately we have been able to keep our Gloucester pet shop open throughout the lock down period. We have done this by monitoring government advice, customer behaviours and expectations and especially the needs of those in our community particularly at risk from the virus. As the situation has evolved we have adjusted our opening times, provided new services and restricted non essential sales.
At the weekend the situation changed again and in view of this and changes to the products we can offer (livestock), the associated welfare needs of this livestock and changes in our customers’ behaviours, we have made further adjustments to our opening hours to cope.
A few weeks ago we reduced our opening hours to 2pm closing. This was to enable us to do FREE local delivery. A lot of our customers could not or would rather not come to us during the peak of the pandemic. We had also stopped selling animals (non essential) and actually had very few left in stock. Feeding, watering, cleaning, health checking and monitoring of the livestock is actually what takes up most of the time in the business. We were therefor able to close to do the deliveries because of the time saved by not having a lot of livestock in. As I posted below, this has now changed and we are selling animals again and so we need this time back.
Also many of our customers now feel more able to come to us and actually prefer it because they can browse the shop better than they can the website. Quite a lot like the excuse to get out after weeks of being shut in. It helps them that they can do this safely because of the control measures we already had in place in our Gloucester pet shop in the period prior to lock down. These measures, allowing social distancing remain in place. This has reduced the demand for FREE local delivery, enabling us to reduce the time spent on this service. It is still available to those requiring it but we will be starting the deliveries later in the day. In order to ensure we can still get to all the customers that really do still need us to deliver we have increased the minimum order from £5 to £10. This is to hopefully reduce the amount of deliveries further (we were delivering to some very local customers who weren’t self isolating every other day with orders a couple of pence over the minimum each time).
With the reduced time for the deliveries we have also introduced a delivery schedule, to avoid delivering to opposite ends of the patch on the same night and wasting most of the available time in one long journey. We will continue to monitor the situation and make changes if any of this causes our customers any issues.
The new schedule for FREE local delivery from our Gloucester pet shop is below along with a couple of sensible conditions.
Property must be sack truck assessible. We will leave the order at the front door of the main property, telephone the contact number given (or knock, or both) and wait until someone collects the package. We will make only one delivery attempt. If you are not in, or do not answer, the order can be collected from our shop from the following working day onward. If you can do orders to collect please do so as delivery numbers will be limited for the time being. Click and collect is available on our web store but FREE local delivery orders MUST be done by telephone on 01452 501882 and paid for in advance by card. Sorry, no cash on delivery. Cash purchases can only be done in store.
Minimum order £10 Orders must be in by 3pm for same day delivery.
Throughout the lock down we have had an embargo on the sale of animals from our store as non-essential items. No one should have been leaving home for any reason that was not essential. Food for your pet is essential, as are a number of other items, bedding, hygiene products, medicines, toys (essential for the well being of your pet) etc. A new pet was not essential, so unless it was to replace a deceased partner of a social species, or you were in the store buying your normal supplies anyway we had stopped selling animals. We knew this embargo was coming in advance so we stopped restocking with animals before the lock down happened so for the most part we didn’t have any in stock anyway.
The government has now moved to a new phase. The emphasis is moving away from “stay at home” although you should still do this if at all possible, and focusing more on responsible social distancing whilst trying to gradually return society back to normal, over time and with very strict monitoring of the results of any changes. We feel that in line with this change we are now in a position to start offering our livestock for sale again.
This is not a case of everything returning to normal. We already have a social distancing policy in place at our Gloucester pet shop. Only one customer group in the shop at any time, queuing kept to a minimum outside the shop with customers keeping at least 2m apart. Staff maintaining 2m from customers at all times. Click and collect ordering available by telephone and on line in our web store and FREE local delivery for telephone orders. We will be keeping all these procedures in place and this will have an impact on the returning sale of animals.
In normal times we actively encourage prospective owners to interact with their new pet (hold where appropriate), prior to purchase. Under the corona virus restrictions we cannot return to this at present as it would break the social distancing rules. You may ask to look at an animal in its enclosure and where possible staff will try to place the animal in a carrier for you to look at, both of these can be done whilst maintaining 2m between staff and customers but I’m afraid that is the limit of interaction before purchase. You will not be able to hold or inspect the animal further. Our staff will do all the normal pre-sale inspections and of course our livestock policy (the most generous we have found) remains in place to offer you protection.
This is the only way we feel we can return to selling animals whilst maintaining protection for our staff and customers. Please note that this service is available to customers only. We still have a policy of no browsing the animals. We have wide variety of livestock and it attracts a lot of casual visitors. During normal times this is not an issue (unless the “free zoo” visitors get in the way of genuine customers or, as happens from time to time, are disruptive – in which case they are asked to leave). However during the pandemic they represent an unnecessary risk to staff and customers and would also be preventing genuine customers from entering the premises. So for now the “Free Zoo” remains closed. We have had a couple of instances where members of the public have become abusive and/or aggressive with staff when asked to leave if they are not making a purchase and just want to “look at the animals”. Fortunately the number of these instances have been very few but they should not have happened at all. We have a zero tolerance policy toward abuse of staff and will remove from the shop anyone who decides that the middle of the worst crisis to hit the country since the war is a good time to start trying to throw their weight around. As I say it’s rare and we appreciate the rest of our community who understand the need for these restrictive practices at this time.
We update our livestock list on this website daily (or when it changes) and our web store also has all our livestock displayed with prices. All animal sales remain in store only. We do not sell animals to anyone we have not met and chatted to, about the care and welfare of the animal, first.
Finally, customers often have to have a think before making the decision whether to buy that particular animal. Quite right too, you should never rush into purchasing a particular pet. We would ask however that whilst making the decision you leave the store if it is going to take a few minutes as we cannot allow anyone else in at the same time as you so there could be a queue outside.
Difficult times call for difficult measures and we know none of this is exactly an ideal “customer experience” so we thank you all in advance for your understanding as we try to remain in business whilst protecting ourselves and our families as well as you and yours.
Our APL ranges of pet foods are very popular. From the entry level, hypoallergenic Super Premium range, to the higher meat content natural diet, Grain Free range. Many customers have moved onto these foods from poorer quality supermarket brands and noticed a marked difference in their pets appetite, digestion and coat. More have moved from over priced, supposedly premium brands and found the same thing, as well as more money in their pockets. No food will suit every single animal but the feedback from the vast majority of customers making the move has been very positive. APL Superfood is a fine addition to these existing ranges.
We are now launching a new range of foods under our APL brand. Our new APL Superfood range. This food is even higher meat content again than our existing Grain Free range and will suit customers feeding the highest end brands such as Canagan and Orijen but at a much better price point.
Orijen Original, an 85% meat, high quality ingredient food retails in our store for £71.99 for the largest 11.4kg bag. Canagan, a British sourced and manufactured 60% meat food (Orijen is Canadian), retails in our store for £67.99 for the largest 12kg bag.
APL Superfood, a British manufactured, high quaility ingredient food will retail in our store for £59.99 for a 12kg bags. The 2kg bags are only £1.00 and £2.50 more than the existing APL Grain Free range.
Of course you may be using some other brand of grain free kibble but want to try a different brand to see how it compares, both in quality, condition, digestibility and price. If you have any questions please do contact us and we will be glad to help.
Customers have been complaining and the media have been reporting, some shops are putting up prices as demand for popular items goes up. Happy to say that we have not put up a single price during the crisis and this month we have our regular wholesalers offers available so actually some prices are going down.
The easiest way to take advantage of these offers is to call us on 01452 501882 and pay by card over the telephone for collection in store or FREE local delivery. Customers not living in the local area can order online for normal courier delivery (charges will apply).
Stay at home and stay safe – The Angell Pets Team.
Angell Pets Gloucester pet shop August offers are now available in store an on line in our webstore. As usual there are some great offers this month. Have a look through and select your offer. Do hurry though as this is a wholesaler schem and they do tend to run out of stock quite quickly.
We are in our 10th year tof our Gloucester pet shop too so we have many other offers on in store to celebrate. Keep your eye on our Facebook page or sign up to our email list to be made aware as the offers coime out.
We are always looking to increase the range of stock we hold in store in our Gloucester pet shop. We have just reorganised the shop floor again to enable us to get a new order of stock in this week. We have restocked with some old favourites that are popular with our customers but that we cannot get through our regular weekly deliveries from our normal wholesalers and we have also added some new lines. One of the new lines is actually both. It is a new brand to replace the brand we used to stock but can no longer get. Turns out to be the same product with a different label.
Komodo Nano Vivariums
These are our favourite enclosures at our Gloucester pet shop for housing tarantulas and other inverts. like mantids. They are glass, so easy to clean, well ventilated and stakable (for the larger collections. The larger sizes can also be used for small amphibians or reptiles (some of the smaller gecko species). We have stocked these before and they are always popular but due to minimum order levels are not always available.
Komodo Terraced Water Bowls
These heavy resin bowls will grace any vivarium. Will not be overturned by even the most active of lizards or snakes. We always sell out of these quite quickly. I have just found out the real reason they were on the order though. Billie wanted one to match the hides she has in her hognose viv. Cheek.
Hugs Dog Beds In Grape And Teal
We have a new range of Hugs dog beds in stock at our Gloucester pet shop in two attractive colours. These come in rectangular and oval formats and compliment our other ranges of beds already held at the store. Theyt are also very reasonably priced considering their stylish design.
Geo Range Of Cat Scratchers
This is a new product and we only have one model from the range in so we can make ourselves familiar with the product. They looked good in the brochure but we like to know what we are selling. From first look the model we have in stock looks like a winner and again is very reasonable priced as it is an activity toy as well as a scratcher.
Happy Pet Bird Toys
A return of a range of old favourites to our Gloucester pet shop. With a couple of exceptions, we have stocked all these toys before and they sell out quickly everytime. Good value and will keep the fussiest of birds occupied for hours. We also have a couple of new items to expand the range further.
Happy Pet Crafty Creatures Range
Back by poular demand, this range of soft dog toys in the shape of some of the animals we sell!. Spiders, geckos and chameleons. We also have Chuckie the chimp back in our Gloucester pet shop for the first time at Hucclecote.We stopped stocking him at Southgate Street because the drunks would continually set him off and it drove Bille mad. Not a problem we have now we are out of town thank goodness, so Chucky’s back.
Komodo Turtle Food Range
We stocked a very popular turtle food product range for a number of years. However the supplier became less and less reliable, to the point where we were finding placing an order a bit of a lottery as to what, if anything, we would recieve. We have been looking for a suitable replacement and have been disappointed with the alternative products. We saw this new range in the brochure and thought it looked good. Turns out it is the old product supplied under a their own brand name via one of our other suppliers. Result. We have limited numbers of each item this time round because we were not certain how good it would be. Now we know it is our old product, so popular with our existing customers we will order more next time.
We always have a range of different flavour jelly pots in store but now we have even more. All the favourites with some exotic additions like melon. Always popular with birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
We will obviously keep trawling the trade press for new and innovitive products to stock in our Gloucester pet shop so keep up to date by visiting the store, checking out this blog or our Facebook page, visiting our webstore or signing up to receive regualr updates. Of course you could do all of the above.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of our Gloucester reptile shop we have 10% off all Exo Terra and Viv Exotic vivariums for the rest of this week (until Saturday 13th July 2019).
Exo Terra glass terraiums make excellent enclosures for some of the higher humidity species we stock in our Gloucester reptile shop. Species such as crested geckos, frogs and other amphibians, chamleons and water dragons.
Viv Exotic are an ever expanding brand and make wooden, glass fronted vivariums with excellent ventilation, for anything from a Kotschys gecko, leopard gecko and other smaller reptiles, up to larger snakes and monitor lizards.
We stock both ranges of vivariums in our Gloucester reptile shop as well as all the ancillary equipment, the reptiles themselves and a good range of live, dried and frozen foods.
We also sell and can give expert advice on complete packages for all the reptiles and amphibians we have in stock and have access to even more by pre-order. Do pop in and see us in our Gloucester reptile shop. Out of town, with easy access by car or bus and with ample FREE parking in our parades large private carpark
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.