News Industry Profile Casco Pet



Industry Profile: CASCO Pet
20th September 2017

By Sandra Pearce

Matthew marks the company’s 20th anniversary

Matthew Bubear, CEO of CASCO Pet, talks to pbwnews about how CASCO started and his plans for the future

Q As a schoolboy and young adult, was your entrepreneurial acumen already evident?

I always loved animals and recall setting up a Nature Centre in my parents’ garage during the school holidays when I was 12. The entrepreneurial streak started to come out then as I charged visitors an entry fee and I was very strict about that – just ask my grandparents!

Q What was the inspiration or motivation for CASCO? That was quite a vision for a 28-year-old.

Having worked in the industry my entire life, I saw an opportunity to be more innovative in the way pet retail habitats were designed and built. I wanted to improve design standards and add creative display solutions that would go beyond simply housing animals. I knew that great store design would play an important part in delivering a sense of retail theatre and allow for greater pet engagement.

CASCO Pet modernised the 10-year-old reptile house at Abbey Aquatics & Reptiles that was stocked with old wooden reptile cages. To suit the client’s budget, it supplied entry-level reptile units in various sizes and a centrepiece arboreal display unit. A bespoke four-level 16-tank unit houses insects, small frogs and hatchling snakes

Q What were the early CASCO years like? Did you ever think you had made a mistake?

To build a successful business takes an incredible amount of hard work, determination, dedication and commitment and like anything, has its ups and downs. However, at CASCO we have always focused on our core values to keep us on the right track, and I have never doubted the quality of our products or the demand for them.

Q How did you move from shopfitting to creating such large custom tanks and high-profile projects?

As our reputation for designing innovative and premium shopfittings grew, we were approached to work on custom projects. As pet retail experts, we were able to provide the engineering knowledge and experience to deliver these high-profile projects to an excellent standard. As a result, we have fostered special relationships with clients such as the Natural History Museum.

An example of a small animal island

Q Does any one of these specialist projects stand out for you, and if so, why?

For me, the custom-built display tanks that we made for conceptual artist Damien Hirst stand out most of all. To see our structures as part of such a famous and poignant series of artworks was an extraordinary experience.

Q What is your strategy to become ‘the most customer-focused supplier in the industry over the next 20 years’?

At CASCO Pet, we will continue to put the customer first throughout the entire process, from initial design to installation and after care. We will always welcome challenging projects and innovative ideas from clients looking to make the most of their retail space. Our focus will always be to provide customers all around the globe with the creative solutions that help them save money and increase revenues.

Aquatic plant display takes focal position

Q What drives innovation at CASCO Pet?

We have a global team of experts from across all our offices dedicated to driving product development and innovations. We recently held our first innovation summit of 2017, which was a great opportunity to
discuss upcoming products and new ideas. Following our innovation summit of 2017 we are very excited about the ideas generated which will be introduced later this year, but that’s all I can say at this stage.

Q Can we expect further acquisitions in the future after your purchase last year of German business IHM Müller?

Our acquisition of IHM Müller was part of our strategic growth plan giving us access to the biggest pet market in Europe. This acquisition has proved to be a great success with promising expansion happening in the German and European market. Future acquisitions in appropriate markets cannot be ruled out.

CASCO Pet supplied the tank housing the Natural History Museum’s Giant Squid exhibit

Q What do you think is the secret of the success of CASCO Pet?

Our success and longevity is due largely to the efforts of our talented people and their commitment to delivering our core values of innovation, quality craftsmanship and service.

Q Where would you like to see CASCO Pet in 20 years’ time?

We simply want to be the best, and by that I mean offering the best equipment and the best service at affordable prices. We’ve grown significantly in the last 20 years and that trend is set to continue into the next 20.

A bird’s eye view of glass tank manufacture

Q What impact do you think Brexit might have on your business?

CASCO Pet is proud to be a European business, one that has benefited from the free movement of goods, services and our workforce. We’ve made significant investments in property and people across Europe and pay local taxes in France, Germany and Portugal. With over 130 employees within mainland Europe, we remain 100% committed to growing and developing our business across the Union, regardless of Brexit.

Q Not many people know this, but you are a keen cyclist. Are you competing in any events this year, and do your sons share your passion for two wheels?

I am totally committed and focused on training and will compete in several events throughout 2017 as part of the South Downs Bikes racing team which is sponsored by CASCO Pet. I also race when in the USA when I get the opportunity. Try as I might to get my sons to fall in love with the sport of cycling, they prefer rugby, hockey and cricket!?

CASCO Pet is supporting Chestnut Tree House as its Charity of the Year. Matthew is pictured with Terrina Barnes, corporate fundraising manager for the hospice