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Shop talk grumpy s pet shop independent pet store with grumpy at its heart, Pet Shop Talk from Pet Business World UK


Store Talk: Grumpy’s Pet Shop – Independent Pet Shop with “Grumpy” at its heart

As the last independent pet store in Cambridge, this unique business has quite a few stories to tell, as owner Jules Brown tells Justine Thompson.

Jules and Richard like to work to their strengths as business partners

Grumpy’s pet store has two owners, myself Jules Brown and my business partner Richard Page. We are known as Mr. and Mrs. Grumpy – but we are neither married nor cranky!

We have been running Grumpy’s since December 2001, so this year will be our 20th year of operation. We really love working together and the reason it works so well is that we love different aspects of running the business. I love the buying side, researching new products and then creating an interesting display with them. Richard really has a “finger on the pulse” when it comes to finances and makes sure we make these purchases at the most competitive prices. But the main reason for the success of our partnership is probably that we are passionate about pets and get a real ‘buzz’ by helping clients with dietary advice and providing a unique ‘personal shopper’ type of service. our shop.

The store is in a great location and has its own forecourt parking

I entered the trade in 1984 and Richard started working in a pet store when he left school in 1992. We have seen a lot of changes during this time, but the most important has been the introduction of premium pet food, which I think was in the 90s, when Leander International first brought Eukanuba and Iams to our shores. The main ingredients in dog and cat food have changed from cereals to meat and the price has gone up. Food manufacturers have improved pet foods and treats year after year and we’ve found that people will pay a higher price because they love their pets so much! We both agree that these premium diets have improved the life expectancy and health of our pets endlessly.

Grumpy’s was born when our old business, which had two pet stores, had to be dissolved when one of the owners – Mike Hardcastle – passed away. Richard and I decided that we wanted to name our new company after it. We cut down on obvious names like Mike’s pets etc. and created Grumpy’s Pet Shop. That’s not to say Mike was ‘cranky’ it was just that many years before he owned a pet store he had run a pub with his wife Joan and their regulars called him ‘Stumpy’ and Mike. “Grumpy”. We’ve really never looked back with such a fabulous name for our pet store. We are often asked why we called our shop Grumpy Pets and the story of how we created it keeps it alive in our hearts and minds.


Our store is based in North Cambridge in a suburb called Chesterton. One of its main strengths is that it has front yard parking and there are also no parking restrictions in the surrounding area. We are within walking distance of the city center, but also close to the A14, so our location is perfect as it is easy to reach for customers and also to receive deliveries. We took over this store from a previous owner called Paul Lloyd who ran this store as Lloyd’s pet food for many years.

When we first ran the store, like most other traditional pet stores, we were selling pets. However, after a few years we decided to focus on selling only natural pet foods and treats. To increase the range, we had to make room for more food stalls. This involved removing all animal housing and of course we had to stop selling pets. While we loved having the animals here it was time consuming and expensive to keep them so we took a deep breath and took the plunge to change our business model and focus on selling food, treats and food. premium natural accessories for pets. At that time, many “high end” brands were not available in supermarkets (which were one of our main competitors) and we quickly found that selling “niche” products was bringing customers back to our market. store.

Cheeky Lulu loves to say “hello” to all customers. She is much loved and even has her own Facebook page


The only pet we have here now is our Moluccan cockatoo called Lulu, who is around 35 years old.
Lulu was hand raised by Mike and had previously lived in our other pet store. After her death, she came to live here at Grumpy’s, which she seems to really like as she gets a lot of attention – something she dreams of. She is highly regarded by our customers (despite the fact that she can be quite loud) and she endears herself to them with her cheeky “hello”. She has her own Facebook page and many adults who visit her today used to come to see her when they were children. They’re now bringing their kids to see her, so she’s as much a part of the Grumpy team as we are!

We have a very valued member of staff called Jason who makes deliveries and helps run our pet sitting service. We started keeping pets for a handful of clients many years ago and this side of our business has grown exponentially, we now have a few hundred people who regularly use our service. When the pandemic hit, we lost revenue on this side of the business, but like so many other pet stores, we found that our retail sales had increased due to the increased number of people with pets. company during the lockdown, so we consider ourselves very lucky that our business is surviving covid so well.


During the lockdown our delivery service was very busy and we were helping the most vulnerable people in our community with getting prescriptions and shopping etc. There was also an exciting community project during the lockdown in which songwriters had to put together a book of folk songs that
describes what it’s like to live and be a part of the North Cambridge community. Project manager Emily Peasgood asked if she could write a song about our community pet store, so of course we agreed, especially since part of her legacy is letting future generations know how it is. was to live and work. this region during a pandemic.

Grumpy’s must surely be the only pet store with its own song

Richard and I have been in the pet business for almost 40 years now – our pet store is the last independent pet store in the city of Cambridge. We’ve had to adapt and change over the years and feel like we’ve learned along the way and made good business decisions. We love all the jokes in the pet store with the reps and the truck drivers and there aren’t many days when Richard doesn’t make us all laugh. We don’t have any expansion plans because we like it the way it is, we run our own business, Grumpy’s is us … Jules, Richard and Jason – and not to mention Lulu.

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