Talking with Ruth Harley of Animal Fayre (January 13th 2011)
Opening Times:: 9-5.30 Mon to Sat
Rochford Life: You’ve been here quite a long while haven’t you?
Ruth: We’ve been here, I think it’s been twenty five years this coming August
RL: What brought you into this?
Ruth: I had just had a baby and I was looking for a cottage in Rochford and then I wanted another cottage in Rochford with extra space, another bedroom, and I was quite interested in running a business as well, and this was on the market at the time; it had been a pet shop for about five years before that, so a pet shop has been here for thirty years, so we cent for it and here I am.
RL: Looking around the shelves it looks like you sell anything to do with animals?
Ruth: That’s right. Dog food, cat food, complete foods, biscuits, treats. We sell a lot of wild bird products; they are really, really popular here. You find that older people, if they have lost a pet, they won’t replace them but they will feed the birds, because it something nice to do. We sell beds, accessories, cages etc. We sell a lot of frozen food we have big freezers in the storage area out the back. It used to be an abattoir (originally it had been the Prince of Wales pub, and a butchers as well). We also do collars, leads, toys and we do some veterinary stuff as well.
RL: On our ‘Growing Stuff’ page recently we had an article about feeding birds. Do birds prefer different foods at different times of the year?
Ruth: I don’t know about different times of the year. Obviously when they are feeding their young they are going to be very busy in the Springtime. If we get a very warm summer they might have another clutch of babies. We do sell a lot of life stuff such as live meal worms – the robins and blackbirds like those and we keep them in the fridge out the back. We also do dried meal worms and suet pellets. There’s a lot more on the market for feeding wild birds these days – niger seed which attracts gold finches is very popular, and we have a special seed container for that so it doesn’t blow around in the wind. It’s like a thistle. Peanut granules we sell, one called No Mess which doesn’t sprout. Many customers don’t like seeds growing in their beds. Some of the old traditional bird seeds will just grow
RL: What happens if you haven’t got what a customer wants?
Ruth: We will always try and order it in for them and do special orders. Another thing we do, and have done for over 20 years, is a special delivery, especially to elderly people, and heavy goods that people can’t manage.
RL: Well that is really helpful. Thank you Ruth. As I look around I see things I’d never have thought you would have, so as a tropical fish keeper I will be back. Thank you.