Kennels business bucks the gloom

TIMES may be tough but one family-run business has today unveiled their newly-expanded premises proving business is booming, despite the economic downturn.

TIMES may be tough but one family-run business has today unveiled their newly-expanded premises proving business is booming, despite the economic downturn.

And that could be an indication that despite all the gloom, we are determined to enjoy our holidays as normal this year.

Browngates Kennels and Cattery in Swilland have opened three new large kennels to help house more dogs as the bookings keep coming.

Sarah Risby and her husband Chris, who took over the running of the business from her parents four years ago, said despite their concerns the outlook for this year is positive.

“Since mid-January the phone has not stopped ringing with bookings for the summer holidays, half-term next week is completely full,” she said. “We are not seeing as much of a downturn as we had expected.

“The good signs are there for this year, it is still quite steady. The opening of the new kennels, designed for large dogs or families of up to four dogs, is a really positive step.”

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The couple, who previously worked in the city before returning to run the family firm, said the key to surviving tougher times was great customer service.

“We are really hands on, people come back to you because they have received a good service,” Mrs Risby added. “People want to know their pets are really well looked after, we do very well from word-of-mouth, many of our customers have recommended us onto friends and family.”

The surge in summer bookings at the kennels suggests that despite the recession forcing purse strings to tighten people are still packing up and heading off on holiday.

Mrs Risby said she had noticed a shift in people's holiday patterns, seeing more bookings for long weekends and short breaks rather than long extended bookings.

“We have certainly seen more bookings for long weekends so far, it may be that people will just have one long holiday this year rather than two or three and fit in a few shorter breaks.”

The centre also works closely with Guide Dogs for the Blind, housing dogs in their last 12 weeks of training before they are placed with their partners.

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