UK Enterprise Awards 2021

332 | UK Enterprise Awards 2021 Jun21328 Best Independent Pet shop - Wales A small shop with a big heart, Paws Pets has worked tirelessly through the recent pandemic, never ‘pawsing’ (excuse the pun!) in its quest to ensure that each and every pet (and owner!) receives the very best advice and care possible. We speak to the owner Nina Gray who tells us more about the key to its success! Operating since 2014, Paws Pets prides itself on having a passion for pets, excellent customer service and a passion for sharing experiences in helping to promote good animal care and animal wellbeing to customers. Just a few of the extensive range of services provided include sourcing specialist pet supplies, pet nutritional advice, accessories fitting, pet care advice, small animal and reptile boarding, in-store events (such as micro-chipping, pet photographers, canine massage and local charities), home deliveries and tag engraving. To add a further string to its bow, in 2015 Paws Pets opened a dog grooming salon at the premises, which caters for a variety of pets, including dogs, cats and small furries too - they’ve even had reptiles come in for a toe trim! It was Nina’s mission to create a friendly atmosphere with approachable staff who customers could trust for advice, and this is exactly what she has achieved with Paws Pets. “We pride ourselves on our customer service and we believe the flagship in our company is our customer care,” Nina explains. “We take time with our customers to learn more about their pets and how they behave, so we can advise the right products for them. All pets are different and react differently to different products, so we take it upon ourselves to understand our clients and adapt our advice or methods to suit the customer’s and pet’s individual needs – the humans are not only our clients, but their pets are too!” With there being so many dog food choices it can be a minefield when choosing the best food for your pet and Nina has witnessed an increasing trend in new pet owners being more cautious about what is in their pet’s food and how the ingredients benefit them. “Our staff receive training from a wide range of pet food brands and we look into all the new brands we take on, as well as highlighting the good, the bad and the myths in all types of pet food”, says Nina, who enjoys researching into nutrition herself. “Plus, there has been a shift towards more sustainable products, such as biodegradable poop bags, and bamboo made toys and accessories, which we are also embracing”, expands Nina. It has been a challenging 18 months for the company, not only due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the severe flooding that the area experienced, with half of the town being effectively cut-off. Paws Pets went above and beyond, re-routing its deliveries so that no pets went without. During the pandemic, the groomers and in-store events had to be closed and postponed and although the shop itself could operate, there were very strict procedures in place and limited opening hours. However, with priority services for shielding customers and innovative adaptions, Paws Pets ploughed on. Nina also started social media giveaways during lockdown, which proved very popular. During this time the team also began concentrating on setting up and improving their online presence, which is still very much a work in progress, but currently has over 1,500 products customers can purchase on their website, with more added daily. Paws hopes that the website will enable their products to reach further afield and benefit customers who perhaps can’t get out, or are still anxious, to access pet supplies. There was also the opportunity to take on a new shop in a new area too, as Nina elaborates. “We agreed to take over an existing shop in Ross-on-Wye and have kept to many of the same products they already stocked, however we have developed the look of the shop floor and are slowly introducing new ranges as we get to know our customers better”. The new shop has performed very well and Nina is looking to introduce dog grooming, as well as hold some events which have been a hit in the Monmouth shop. One concern that Nina and the team have for pets that have spent 24/7 with their new owners during lockdown is that they will now wonder where their humans have gone when they go back to work and become anxious and upset. “We are hoping to adapt some of our space in our Monmouth and Ross stores to include a doggy day care, so workers can drop their beloved dogs off somewhere safe where they won’t be alone and the owner can come back to spend their lunch break with them if wanted and collect their pets at the end of their shift.” Pets Paws is no stranger to winning awards and just some of the accolades under its belt include Welsh Independent Retail Award – Pet Shop of the Year 2019, Welsh SME Business Award – Best Retailer (under 3 units) 2019, and Welsh Small Business Big Heart Award 2019, so it is no surprise that it was recently crowned with the prestigious title of Best Independent Pet Shop Wales in the 2021 SME Awards. “We want to be known as a small business with a BIG heart and be the place where people expect good quality products from knowledgeable people; a place where people give exceptional customer service, whilst promoting good welfare for all animals.” Contact: Nina Gray Company: Paws Pets Supplies & Grooming Salon Web Address: