By Lotte Pegler
Owners of a much loved shop in Bognor Regis thanked their customers as they celebrate 25 years.
Having first opened on October 25, 1994, Paul Culling and his wife Tina have been running The Pet House for 25 years, drawing in a tight knit community of loyal customers.
“You need to look after your customers and they’ll look after you.
“It’s nice to know I have done it. I’m not going anywhere, I couldn’t retire. It’s nice to think of the families who have supported us, and my family who’ve been so great. If we didn’t have lovely customers we wouldn’t be where we are.
“You’ve got to look after a business so people don’t get bored. It’s so easy these days for people to go to Tescos, chuck everything in a trolley and be done. We’ve done well to stay popular and loved.”
What was originally ‘an empty shell’ when Paul bought it all those years ago, the couple has transformed into a popular hub for the town.
For Paul, pet shops are in his blood.
“It was a family thing,”
“My father had shops in London, it’s what you get used to doing. It’s been hard, but you’ve just got to work at it and not give up.
“We’ve worked at it every year and changed it when we need to. We’ve got lots of lovely customers who support us.
“We’ve seen a lot of change since we first opened. My wife was pregnant with my daughter at the time and we were having breakfast in one of the cafes over the road.
“I mentioned about the empty shop and we managed to get a deal because it was a complete mess.
“I’ve been here ever since. We found some old photos the other day, it showed just how much had changed.”
The Pet House may look small from the outside, but Paul calls it The Tardis. With an animal room, with animals for sale from rabbits to gerbils; a reptile area with a variety of exotic creatures; and a sales area offering feeds, treats and bedding, the shop really does have it all.