It’s a dogs life in business at the moment says Newtownards pet shop owner Amanda Wark.
From the onset of the coranavirus, Amanda has seen a rapid drop in business as people self isolate.
But as an essential service, her shop is still meeting the culinary and care needs of pouches and pusses although she is only opening two days a week at the moment.
Amanda said: “My business is located now in Frances Street in Newtownards. I’ve been working in grooming dogs for over seven years and after a couple of years I expanded into pet foods and products and supplies.
“Business was certainly steady until the arrival of coronavirus. I have worked hard and built up quite a few loyal and supportive customers over the years. Now that I’m just open part-time, I have increased the amount of deliveries that I am doing but have been forced by the lack of footfall in the town to run for just two days a week. This has resulted in a significant drop in business.
“After careful consideration and in the best interests of our customers, I have closed the grooming salon for now due to the risks of COVID-19. The pet shop will remain open to provide essential supplies to pet owners.
“This has been a hard decision. I posted up an article on our Facebook page on 23rd March on how to keep your dog clean and properly brushed, and how to bathe them. Coat care is important to keep your pet fit and healthy.
“I”m sure some dogs’ coats will be knotted and matted by the time I see them again once the coronavirus passes. It sometimes takes a couple of grooming sessions to get a coat back into shape.”
Amanda added: “Pet food outlets are deemed as essential businesses for animal welfare and I have tried to keep the business going as much as I can but it like many other businesses has just dropped off as people self-isolate. Many have already stocked up food for their pets already.”
Cloud-K-Nine Coronavirus Opening Hours (Part-Time).
Tuesday : 12 Noon – to 6pm.
Friday : 12 Noon – to 6 pm.
Amanda added: “My business is actually in a good location. There was a pet shop at this site before I moved in which helped to some degree when I started to develop my different lines etc. And parking too is great, so if people are not coming out to shop I can understand their predicament. Parking now with the lockdown is very much improved as hardly anyone is venturing out.
“The premises I’m in is super. It’s a good size and the rent is affordable under normal trading circumstances. If customers phone me first for their order and pay online I can come out and put the pet food in the boot for them so they don’t have to come out of their cars.
“I try and avoid using cash as much as possible so paying by card if necessary in the shop is fine. So many customers now are using cards for payment. I even spray and wipe down plastic notes. The paper ones are more difficult to keep safe. You would not want a £20 note dissolving in front of your eyes,” Amanda joked.
“Like most shops I have hand gel on the counter and at the entrance and I wipe the door handles and counter and other areas down at regular intervals. It is on-going. It is a completely different way of doing business. And it may well change the way we continue with this in the future.
“I don’t sell live animals. Just food and products. My biggest seller is different types of dog food, and like cat food, I have a range of brands and some specialist foods for dietary requirements. Also I have frozen mice and other titbits for reptiles, and food for budgies and parrots.
“It’s difficult to cater for all brands of pet food but I have a good range including a lot of natural treats which are suitable for dogs that may have allergies such as skin trouble etc.
“I will be looking at what support the government i providing small businesses. It will be tough keeping things going. My fixed costs are £1500 a month so a £10,000 grant will keep me going for six months if the coronavirus business downturn lasts that long, and it may. Business has been severely disrupted and coronavirus has not really peaked here yet. It’s a very difficult and scary time.”
Contact Amanda at:
phone: 028 91828157.