‘We had to control purchases’ - how a town pet shop managed lockdown panic buying

Sam's Pets, North Walsham. Picture: CASEY COOPER-FISKE

Sam's Pets, North Walsham. Picture: CASEY COOPER-FISKE - Credit: CASEY COOPER-FISKE

A pet shop has said it had to ration purchases during lockdown as ‘ridiculous’ panic buying took hold.

Sam’s Pets, which has been in North Walsham for over 20 years, has been the town’s only pet supplier to remain open throughout lockdown.

In the early weeks of lockdown, owner Ian Jackson said the demand for pet supplies was overwhelming, leading him to limit customers to one purchase per item.

He said: “Within the first three or four weeks we were having to control purchases having seen what the supermarkets were going through and how ridiculous people were being. We were very careful on that as we’d seen the mistakes that supermarkets had made.

“But we’ve had no instances of customers feeling unsafe at all.

“God bless the lorry drivers, they’ve kept us going. We didn’t get everything because our wholesaler was struggling to get stuff in, but the lorry drivers have been fantastic, they’ve kept us and many other shops going.”

Mr Jackson stopped short of saying that his business had increased during lockdown however, as while the shop had gained customers from businesses that were closed he said regular customers who were shielding or had a fear of leaving the house during the pandemic had not been coming to the store as regularly as possible.

Most Read

The shop has been offering free deliveries during lockdown in order to help those who are unable to leave their homes.

Mr Jackson added: “Deliveries went through the roof because people were self-isolating so that was quite nice, we haven’t been charging for deliveries so it’s probably best we don’t add up how much it has cost as we’d probably be operating at a loss or breaking even, but it’s not about that, it’s just providing a service for the people of North Walsham really.

“We’ve had lots of new customers that have become interested in birds because they’ve been sitting out in their gardens watching them. We picked up a few customers when Roys and QD closed but we also lost regular ones who were self isolating and don’t dare come out, so it’s all swings and roundabouts really.”

Mr Jackson hopes regulars will return when all the shops reopen next Monday June 15.