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‘A pet is part of the family and people have appreciated being able to use their card to stock up on their pet’s regular food’

The Scotland Loves Local East Renfrewshire Gift Card can be spent with over 120 businesses across the region. East Renfrewshire Council distributed over 4500 £100 East Renfrewshire Gift Cards to low income households in November 2022, and one of the most popular places for people to redeem the card was Country Feeds Pet Supplies and Pet Parlour.

Co-owner of Country Feeds, Kirsty, said:

“Country Feeds Pet Supplies and Pet Parlour is a family run business that has been in Barrhead since 1987. It’s a third generation business that is currently run by myself and my mum. We offer pet supplies, feed, medicines, supplements and accessories for all types of animals, from pets to horses and everything in between.

“Within the shop we also have our Pet Parlour, offering a full range of grooming treatments for dogs. We have two groomers in the shop, including myself, and it is really busy. One of the things we pride ourselves on is having a good relationship with our customers, being a place where they can buy their pet products, but also come to for advice and support.

“As we all know, there was a big boom in pet ownership during the lockdown in the UK, especially with new dogs. In the last 6 months, lots of people have been going back into the office, and that means an adjustment for both the pet and the owner too.

“I think you get so much more when you shop locally, especially with a family run business. It’s not just about the sale but about the ongoing advice. Everyone who’s had a new puppy will experience that ‘have I done the right thing’ moment, when you feel frustrated and have all of these questions about training, grooming and nutrition. Sometimes, it’s just about having someone to talk to, who can reassure you that what you’re going through is normal.

“We joined the East Renfrewshire Gift Card when it launched because we saw the potential of the card as a gift. In 2022, East Renfrewshire Council decided to use the card to distribute funds to low income families which I think is a great idea, because it keeps money local and supports households that are struggling, giving them lots of choice of where to spend their gift card.

“The cost of living crisis is hitting everyone. Some people are cutting back on the branded products for a more economical brand, but equally, many people don’t want to change their pet’s food. A pet is part of the family and people have appreciated being able to use their card to stock up on their pet’s regular food, or even buy something bigger like a new bed for their dog.

“I think the choice on offer with the East Renfrewshire Gift Card is absolutely key, including high street stores and independents. It’s great that there are lots of independents who are part of the East Renfrewshire Gift Card, and I’d love to see even more businesses join. But we have to remember that the cards aren’t being given to us, they’re being given to families in need, and they need to be able to spend the cards to get food and essentials.

“Most people spending their East Renfrewshire Gift Card with us are regular customers but we’ve had new customers in too. Even after 30 years in Barrhead, people will still come into the shop and say they didn’t know we were here. It’s surprising but just goes to show that people really do need an incentive to go into their local town, see what’s there, and actually go inside businesses they’ve never been in before.”