Once you start painting you always see other bits of the shop that need sorting, so we have had a good look at our overall layout to see how we can improve things. We do know that we tend to stuff as much stock in the front half of the shop as possible in order to get potential customers to see as much stock as quickly as possible. The downside to this is that the shop looks cluttered and anyone with a pushchair or pram has very little chance of getting as far as the back shop. One of our reps suggested we move our freezer nearer the back and put our big bags of dog food next to it, thus clearing quite a lot of space from the front shop. The hard part for us was losing about 30% of our rabbit and guinea pig display cages. For me it was quite difficult to see how moving the freezer nearer the back of the shop, moving bulk bags to the back and moving collars and leads right to the back was improving the shop. However, after only a few weeks, customers have found the freezer and, because it is backed on to a wall, we can put up posters and a price list, and sales are improving. On the collars front, people looking for collars and leads are in a quieter area of the shop instead of stuck in the main thoroughfare, so they have more uninterrupted time to browse. And although the front shop looks a bit bare, customers are commenting on the extra space and how much better the shop feels – and anyone with a pushchair can now navigate the entire shop easily. All in all, a good improvement in layout and customer flow. So how much did we spend to change everything round? A new power point was £75, wood to line an old wall and put up new shelves cost £50, and paint was £75. The rest was our time and effort and as we all know, you never cost out your own time! The lesson learned is that sometimes you just need to have a good change round.