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‘We have had people in tears’ - pet shop owner bowing out after 42 years

PUBLISHED: 13:51 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:43 12 October 2020

Janette Fitzgerald and her twin sister Ann Sherwood behind the counter at Jany's Pets in Great Yarmouth. Mrs Fitzgerald is hoping someone will step in and carry on with the business after she retires Picture: Liz Coates

Janette Fitzgerald and her twin sister Ann Sherwood behind the counter at Jany's Pets in Great Yarmouth. Mrs Fitzgerald is hoping someone will step in and carry on with the business after she retires Picture: Liz Coates

Archant

Shopping online may be quick and easy but there is the postage, and you do not get to have a chat with your favourite shopkeeper who knows exactly what you want, and often has it bagged up ready for when you come in.

Janette Fitzgerald of Jany's Pets with her twin sister Ann Sherwood. The pair say they will be sad to leave the shop after 42 years. They hope it will carry on with new people at the helm Picture: Liz CoatesJanette Fitzgerald of Jany's Pets with her twin sister Ann Sherwood. The pair say they will be sad to leave the shop after 42 years. They hope it will carry on with new people at the helm Picture: Liz Coates

For 42 years Janette Fitzgerald has been meeting the needs of small animals and their owners across Great Yarmouth.

But now the face behind Jany’s Pets in Deneside - and that of her twin sister Ann Sherwood - is bowing out and hoping to hand the business on.

Putting a sign in the window announcing her retirement had brought people to her door in floods of tears, the 61-year-old said, and seen a stream of cards and flowers delivered.

“It has been wonderful,” she said. “Really lovely.”

Janette Fitzgerald of Jany's Pets has loved serving customers for 42 years but hopes to find new people to take the business on as she steps into retirement Picture: Liz CoatesJanette Fitzgerald of Jany's Pets has loved serving customers for 42 years but hopes to find new people to take the business on as she steps into retirement Picture: Liz Coates

Mrs Fitzgerald started the shop with her first husband in 1978, running it on her own - albeit with family help - for the last 25 years.

At first they sold a range of pets from budgies to tortoises, hamsters, puppies and kittens - always being wary of who was taking them home, and sometimes declaring a pet sold if they did not like the look of a buyer.

Around two years ago they stopped doing live animals altogether, mainly because of the hours it took to take care of them.

But trade is still buoyant, and while the town’s fortunes have waxed and waned, the shop has stood steady.

“There’s still a good little business here,” she said. “It is time for someone younger to come in and open it up every day.

“I am not in any rush, but I would like to see it continue as a pet shop.”

During lockdown, although they were allowed to open, the shop was closed while the family dealt with the devastating death of their older sister Valerie, also a familiar face in the shop.

However, Mrs Fitzgerald did deliver to her older customers who were worried about Covid and the welfare of their pets.

She said while old-fashioned personal service was at the heart of the shop’s success, it was possibly its future too.

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Small independent shops were the backbone of retail, she added, making connections and friends with customers helping to make it a happier expererience for everyone.

The shop is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10-12pm.


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