Blackpool family’s pets to people retail business

Dan Fletcher, owner of Exclusively Pets, Premier Express and The Food Court on Whitehills Business Park
Dan Fletcher, owner of Exclusively Pets, Premier Express and The Food Court on Whitehills Business Park
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A family who went looking for somewhere to base their pet food sales business ended up feeding pets’ owners instead.

Lorna Owen and her family who run Exclusively Pets and the Fylde Coast Canine Hydrotherapy Centre are now holding the leash of a sandwich and snacks bar, pet supplies and convenience shop at the Whitehills Business park.

But it is not such a big switch for Lorna, because although she has 11 dogs, her family background is based in retail and the corner shop business.

Lorna said it had been a busy year, but the family were established now at their new venture.

She said: “It used to be the Coast Café but the people at the business park are busy office workers and don’t really want to sit down for a meal. They just want to get a quick sandwich and coffee and go back to work.

“So the café did not really work out and we came in. We run a split café and pet supplies and convenience store for the area.

“We had been looking for somewhere for our pet foods business only but when we saw this unit was available we changed our plans a little.

“The sandwiches side is going well with the number of office workers. The shop side now needs to be built up, but we are seeing more and more houses being built there.

There are something like another 230 homes to go up in the area, so we expect that will grow. It is very much a family concern. My daughter Leanne has her pet hydrotherapy business and we have the pet food which had taken over my house. We started looking for a store for that but this came on the market and we saw the opportunity. The unit was too big for the pet business alone so we decided to use it for the hybrid business.

“My son-in-law Dan Fletcher has a convenience stores background. And my grandfather used to run a corner shop in Sabden. When I was a young girl. It was a village shop and he ran it for 40 years everything from paraffin to sugar so it is something our family knows about.

“We specialize in healthy pet foods. It is high quality food from the high end more expensive products to the best you can buy in the cheaper range.

Dan Fletcher said: “Whitehills Convenience Stores is three stores in one along the US style, open plan like they have at service stations.

“We have high hopes for the convenience store as there will be something like 4,500 houses within half a mile of the store in the coming years.”