Opening a new pet shop during lockdown restrictions was all in the line of duty for a former police officer.
After spending 13 years in the police force, animal lover Laura Beal changed career paths as she first became a dog groomer and then a pet shop owner.
The 37-year-old had detected there was an opportunity for an all-natural pet store in her home town of Cullompton in Devon and opened Naturally Pawsome earlier this year.
“I decided the time was right for a change of career,” said Laura. “I loved the police, but I needed a happier job, so I decided to work with animals. I fell into dog grooming and loved it. When the chance to take on this town centre shop came up, I grabbed it with both hands.”
And the move seems to have paid off with the local pet-owning community flocking to the store as the country moved out of lockdown.
“I’ve always been very health conscious. I only use natural products at home on myself and my family and have reaped the rewards for doing so. Therefore, I thought it was an obvious step to take in the grooming salon and pet shop,” said Laura.
“The use of chemicals and other nasties in our food is becoming too much and is affecting the health of ourselves and our pets. We wanted to promote healthy foods for our pets while also making them affordable.”
It has been a challenging period for the mother of two young boys, managing a busy home life, launching the pet shop and running the dog grooming side of the business.
Laura runs the shop with her fiancé Russell and employs three groomers although admits she can’t resist helping out in the salon.
The most pleasing aspect so far has been the reaction of local residents. “It has been so positive – everyone has been so kind,” said Laura. “Now people know we are open and see what we provide we have been inundated with stock requests. We’ve also been asked to hold puppy classes and talks on first aid for pets.
“It’s been challenging, but an amazing journey so far,” she said.