Excitement as new Staffordshire pet shop finally opens

A Staffordshire pet shop has finally welcomed its first physical customer through the doors.

Stewart Cooper and Elyse Turner with their new business, the Chasewater Dogs Shop in Heath Hayes as it finally opens, following months of delay due to Covid
Stewart Cooper and Elyse Turner with their new business, the Chasewater Dogs Shop in Heath Hayes as it finally opens, following months of delay due to Covid

Chasewater Dogs Shop in Heath Hayes held a grand opening of its premises, more than four months after it was originally supposed to open to the public.

Owner Stewart Cooper said the shop had actually been open since December, but lockdown restrictions had kept it closed, and spoke of his own joy at being able to welcome people in.

He said: "It's been really nice to finally get people coming in and seeing the shop and I think people are a lot more comfortable with going out and about.

"Today has been awesome as we've had members of my family come down, we've given away goodie bags and done a raffle for Chasewater railway, something close to my heart.

"There really is a feeling today of excitement, mixed with relief."

The 32-year-old said he had run a dog training business in Cannock, which stemmed from his time in the Royal Engineers as a dog trainer, and the idea for the shop came from talking to his clients.

He said: "I have so many clients who come through me for dog training and I realised it was easier for me to sell them products, rather than referring them to Amazon.

"There's something inside me which prefers to shop local and keep small businesses going and I just wanted to make it easier for my clientèle to get the stuff they needed.

"We have signs outside for raw food, nutrition and training advice and holistic products and it's nice to share the knowledge I have with owners."

He said there had been challenges during lockdown, such as getting stock delivered on time and talking with customers who had suffered during the pandemic with mental health issues.

However, Mr Cooper said the opening of the shop was an exciting time and encouraged people to come down and visit any time.

He said: "My message would be to come down for some friendly advice.

"You don't have to spend any money, it's just nice to have dog owners and like-minded people meet and I'm sure you'll leave with some gained knowledge."

Chasewater Dogs Shop can be found at 116 Hednesford Road, Heath Hayes.

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