Chesterfield dog quarantine and kennel company thriving in lockdown after diversifying their business
A Chesterfield dog quarantine and kennel company has managed to thrive and recruit three new members of staff during the past year after diversifying, while other kennels face potential closure.
Julie Adams and her partner Maureen Adams took over C Four Paws, a dog quarantine business, in Arkwright Town back in 2014 – transforming the company which was effectively in administration and expanding to offer holiday boarding, day boarding and pet transport as well.
The 47-year-old director has cited the diversification of their business as the reason they survived lockdown, while other kennels which only offer boarding are struggling to make ends meet without dedicated Government help according to a recent survey from The Good Kennel Guide.
Research found that more than half of the nation’s licensed boarding kennels will be forced out of business before the summer, which could spark an animal welfare crisis ahead of a much-anticipated and busy holiday season following an increase in people buying dogs during the pandemic.
Julie and Maureen have recruited three new members of staff since September after a rise in demand for their quarantine and pet transport services in the UK and Europe, following Brexit and the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The company director explained how transforming their business model has saved their company during the pandemic.
Julie said: "Had we not made that decision, I think we like most of the other pure boarding kennels, work would have stopped last March.
"Lots and lots of people wanted puppies so we ended up doing lots of UK pet transport as people weren't able to do that for themselves in lockdown.”
While the business is around 25 per cent down in profits compared to last year, the company has recently launched a subsidiary in Dublin and relicensed all of their vehicles to continue to transport pets across Europe in line with the Brexit agreement.
"Our boarding side normally boarding makes up around a third of our turn over and it's probably less than five per cent now and it has almost completely disappeared”, she added.
"So people who are just boarding kennels, I have no envy for their position at all.
"We've been excluded from the travel, leisure and tourism grants and assistance that other areas of the leisure industry and the tourism industry have had so there is very little in the way of help and support.
"To suddenly, literally overnight, have the business turn off for a minimum of two years, which is how long I think it will take before we get back to anywhere near normality, it is going to be incredibly tough to survive."
The company offered discounts to front line workers throughout lockdown to thank them for their service and worked with rescue centres concerned there could be an increase in abandoned pets when life returns to ‘normal’.
"We have taken a hit on profit but we have managed to keep the staff employed and that was very, very important to us that we came out the other side with the same volume of staff that we went in with so we could restart the business as people had known it before lockdown”, Julie added.
"We had no concept that diversifying would be the difference between life and death for us in this extreme type of circumstance.”