THE visionary behind the rebrand and redevelopment of a leading pet retailer is celebrating 20 years with the company.
PetPlace Managing Director Sion Pritchard joined the business to assist with security in 2000.
He progressed through the ranks to become boss six years ago and has never looked back.
As the original Farm and Pet Place group marks 50 years in 2020, and Sion turns 40 in November, the coming months will be momentous for both he and the award-winning organisation.
“When I think about how far we have come together, it’s quite incredible,” said Sion, who grew up in Rhos-on-Sea.
“On a personal level I would have never dreamed of being at the helm of this great company, but collectively – originally led by Farm and Pet Place founder Gwyn Lewis – we have achieved a lot together.
“As we look to continue rolling out the new PetPlace brand this year, transforming stores and growing our workforce, I feel proud to be in this privileged position and look forward to seeing how things develop in the future.”
As well as a complete revamp of the Abergele store to now include the UK’s first cinema, play park and coffee bar for dogs, the firm has launched a new VIP scheme for customers, been awarded a Silver Investors in People Award and there are plans to extend the PetPlace brand to the Farm and Pet Place sites in Llangefni, Mold, Chirk and Ruthin.
The makeover was so popular that world-renowned animal psychologist Roger Mugford – trainer of the Queen’s corgis – travelled 300 miles to visit the facility and said it was a “world-first” socialisation and play environment for canines.
Sion’s decision to move away from traditional farm-focused products and toward the health and wellbeing of pets, encouraging a more nutritional raw food diet, has paid dividends.
As has the ethos of ‘pet parents’, so animals are rightly seen as part of the family.
The group now employs more than 70 staff and is winning new customers all the time.
There is also a tremendous amount of goodwill toward them because of their support of charities including Hope House Hospice and St Kentigern Hospice, for whom they have raised tens of thousands of pounds.
“As I grew in confidence leading the business, it became clear which way the sector was going and that we needed to go with it and make changes,” said Sion.
“It was a brave decision, but we believed in it, and that the health and happiness of our pets is more important than profits.”
He added: “I’ve enjoyed every moment of my time with Farm and Pet Place and truly believe the best is yet to come.
“We have so many ideas that will continue to connect the company with our customers, the community and charitable causes, with our pets and their welfare at the centre of everything we do.
“Thanks to all of my colleagues and everyone who has supported me over the last 20 years – especially my partner Paul and as a pet parent myself, our very own Rocky – and I hope you’ll continue with me on the journey to further growth and improvement in the years ahead.”
For more information, visit the website www.farmandpetplace.co.uk/abergele and follow @petplaceUK on social media.