After the business blogs about Silver Breeze Jewellery and Sprout Health Foods, it’s the turn of Pooches – Newquay’s very own town centre pet shop. BID spoke to Sharon and Jackie, the owners of Pooches, about pet food, popcorn for pets and why Newquay is great for dog-owners.
Pooches opened in Newquay in May 2015 – the Pooches team of Sharon and Jackie moved down to Cornwall from Bournemouth, where they owned a very successful dog training and grooming business. They also ran a ‘Doggie Day Care’ centre and looked after dogs in their own homes overnight so the Pooches team knows a great deal about dogs and have also gained numerous pet-related qualifications and participated in various courses. When Sharon and Jackie moved to Cornwall, they realised that Newquay no longer had a dedicated pet shop in the heart of the town and so there was a genuine need for one. This was a completely new venture for the team and initially they were going to focus on products solely for dogs (hence the shop name), with a grooming salon at the rear of the store. However, it quickly became apparent that people wanted products for lots of other types of pets and Pooches now stock goods for a wide range of animals, including cats, hamsters, rabbits, horses, reptiles and aquatic species.
Dogs have the largest range of products in the store, simply because dogs play so many roles within the homes in which they live. Pooches sell leads, collars, harnesses, clothing and toys as well as practical items such as health and hygiene products, life vests, training and travel accessories, treats and food. Cats are also very popular in Newquay, as are hamsters and rabbits, and Pooches has a wide range of products for these pets too. The Pooches team changes stock regularly so that customers don’t get bored with having the same choice, especially when it comes to toys and treats, while also ensuring a consistent supply of products that customers buy regularly. Training aids which help with lead walking, especially when in town in the height of the summer, are popular in the shop as are health products such as flea and worm treatment, and various ointments, sprays and tablets for minor ailments and injuries.
Pooches are happy to give advice on anything dog-related, particularly with regards to grooming and training. They also have a lot of knowledge about food and feeding and will spend a lot of time helping people decide on the best way to feed their dog because, as the team explains, “a lot of health and behavioural issues are caused by inappropriate feeding”. Pooches are believers in natural feeding and stock raw food as well a variety of good quality dry and wet foods. Pooches are slowly increasing their reptile and aquatic range: they already stock most basic products for these pets, including live and frozen reptile food. Products can be ordered regularly for customers who require specific items: these arrive within a couple of days of ordering and Pooches are very pleased to deliver free of charge within the Newquay area and further afield for a small charge to cover fuel. The team try to keep prices as low as possible and pass any offers from their suppliers straight to their customers. They also keep a range of cheaper items in stock for holiday-makers who might forget their pet necessities. Pooches aim to get new leads and collars in the shop as often as possible, as pet owners like to change them regularly, and they also provide hay, straw and other bedding materials.
Where possible, Pooches like to source local products – they stock “Dicky Bags” (for carrying dog poo bags) which are made here in Newquay and “Handy Halters” (a type of training lead), hand-made in Launceston. The team are always on the lookout for new and exciting products for the shop such as cakes, popcorn, ‘beer’ and ‘wine’ and sticks of rock suitable for all animals: many people love to buy these as gifts for pets when on holiday or for special occasions. During the winter, a lot of pet coats are sold, as well as snuggly beds of all sizes that will keep pets warm and dry. In the summer, cooling coats and mats are popular, as well as a variety of health products for upset stomachs, bumps and scrapes, and heat reactions. Holiday-makers who are camping or going to dog-friendly beaches also buy tie-out stakes and long lines to ensure their pets are under control but not restricted too much. The Pooches team pride themselves on providing excellent customer service and they state that they won’t sell anything to anyone if they do not think it is the right product for their pet. They are also happy to send customers to other shops in order to get the most suitable items.
The Pooches team own five dogs between them, including a collie called Ava, a Rottweiller X (Hali) and a Sprocker (Jo-Jo) – all with different characters and temperaments.
Newquay has become a real dog-friendly place and a lot of visitors to the town have noticed this and commented favourably. Holiday makers now contact Pooches prior to arrival in Newquay to order their dog food to ensure it is in stock: this is particularly relevant with the frozen, raw food and it can be collected every few days during their holiday. The team love being in Newquay as they say there are so many super places to walk dogs, including Porth beach (when dogs are allowed), Crantock and cliff-top walks along the coastal paths. Sharon and Jackie are particularly grateful to their customers for providing lots of information that can be passed onto other pet-owners: the team say the best thing about being a business in Newquay is the people as they are so friendly and helpful. Pooches are proud and pleased that they have had a lot of support from their loyal customers, both local residents and holiday-makers, and they are very grateful for this. As the team say, “as a small business, it is sometimes difficult to compete with the ‘superstores’ but we feel that we can match well on price in the circumstances and we also offer excellent customer service and have become good friends with many of our customers”.
To contact Pooches: please ring 01637 498170