Coletta & Tyson invest in ?one of biggest pet stores in region

A garden centre near Beverley has spent ?100,000 to create one of the biggest pet stores in the region.

Coletta & Tyson in Woodmansey has also drafted in new experts to run the pet department, which has about 2,000 fish and 50 reptiles.

The new store was completed a few months ago but it has taken the company time to find the right people.

But the move is already paying dividends, with pet sales?increasing sharply.

Coletta and Tyson’s marketing manager Lauren Cocks said: “We just had a small pets section at the centre before and it had reached a point where sales had plateaued. We had to decide whether to keep it small or invest and let it grow.

“We have spent ?100,000 on the move and it took two years of planning to set everything up.

“We knew there was a lot of growth in reptiles and fish and there is a gap in the market round here.

“We now pride ourselves on being a very good pet shop.”

The garden centre decided the gamble to expand was worth it.

Ms Cocks said: “The increase in sales?since moving has proved us right.

“The feedback we have had from customers?has been excellent.

“We want people to know we are a serious pet shop and not just a small part of the garden centre.”

Ms Cocks admits there was no point in investing in new facilities without having the right people in place.

Ms Cocks said: “It has been a really long process and we interviewed many candidates to ensure we got the right people in.

“We now feel we have those with the experience and knowledge to make this the best pet shop in the area.”

Mr Brice believes there is a great set-up in place.

He said: “The move to our new home was a huge boost and the facilities are now a lot better.

“Pets are a growing area and we are always looking out for what is popular.

“There are more reptiles as pets than dogs.

“They do have a character of their own and, after the initial set-up, they are very cheap to care for.

“We have about 40 to 50 different reptiles in stock at the moment.

“We have corn snakes, king snakes and even a rare Timor monitor lizard.

“We also have a green iguana, which was brought in to us as an unwanted pet and we have nursed it back to health.”

Tom Brice is a reptile specialist with a degree in zoology.

He has worked at Drayton manor zoo and taught animal management?at Bishop

Burton College.

He said: “In a zoo you get attached to the animals and look after them for a long time. But here you can’t do that, as the animals come in and out all the time.

“Sometimes you can’t help but get attached and it can be upsetting when you have to sell them.

“We are careful about who we sell the animals to and we make sure the person has the right set-up to look after them.”

Aquatics and reptile specialist Scott Hardcastle has been taken on.

He has a national diploma from Bishop Burton in fisheries management and 11 years’ experience working with fish and reptiles.

He said: “It is fantastic here now and everything is in place. It has been quite an undertaking but the move has been worth it.

“We have about 60 tropical fish tanks and 20 large marine tanks with about 1,500 to 2,000 fish in all.

“With advances in technology, more and more people are now able to look after tropical and marine fish.

“There is definitely a growth in people buying fish and I’d say we are selling a few hundred each week.”

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