After photographing Bree Durie from Taree Pet Barn with her husband and baby girl, who is just adorable, I’ve come to admire how she manages business and family …
I love hearing stories of how children can be a part of a business and that we no longer live in the strict “box” that business once was for families. So this interview is about Bree and how she, along with her family, have grown a business into an award winning enterprise that is doing a great trade, in a matter of two years.
How long has the Taree Pet Barn been established, and how long has your family owned it?
Taree Pet Barn has been in the Manning Valley for the past 15 – 16 years. We have owned Taree Pet Barn for almost two years, purchasing the business back in July 2013. In that time we have created a new look for Taree Pet Barn that we are very proud of. It’s clean, it’s fresh, and it’s inviting; we love the fact that Taree Pet Barn is a place our customers look forward to visiting.
We’ve seen a huge change in your business from a customer perspective; what do you attribute to the current success of the business?
I believe a business cannot get anywhere without great staff; I owe a great deal of our success to them. They are the face of Taree Pet Barn – the friendly face that greets you every time you walk through the door. They are the ones you can rely on to help you get the very best advice for your pet. All of the staff at Taree Pet Barn are such an important part of the team, and their passion to help customers and go that little bit extra to ensure everyone leaves satisfied is such a key aspect in why people love coming to shop at Taree Pet Barn.
It has taken a lot of hard work and determination to get us to where we are today. The road has not been easy, but when to this day we have customers walking through our doors for the first time or the first time in years and commenting on how amazing the shop looks, it makes all of the hard work worthwhile. As I said, we love the fact that people see Taree Pet Barn as a place to visit, whether they call on a weekend with the kids to see Speedy the Squirrel and all the animals, or to get the right advice for their pet.
This year at our Just For Pets Conference with over 70 Just For Pet Stores across Australia, we won the award for Excellence in Retailing for 2014 and were nominated in the top four for Retail Store of the Year 2014. For a business that is not even two years old to be given such recognition, I feel is just an incredible achievement – none of which would not be possible without our fantastic staff and the support of our customers.
With a (very gorgeous) baby girl as well as the business to run, how do you juggle it all?
I think I’m very lucky; there are not many working mums out there who get to take their daughter to work with them every day. We are pretty lucky in that Dad is at work with us too, so neither of us miss out on our precious girl growing up. We find when she’s not at work with us, we miss her cheeky little face, so it’s nice to have her close by. We do have a great network of support that is always there to help, and it means she also gets to spend quality time with her Nanny, Poppy and Gran.
I will admit a juggle some days is an understatement, especially now someone escapes out of the office to see the fish or play with the birds and rabbits, but she does have a pretty cool environment to grow up in, playing with the animals and stealing all the customers’ hearts. I sit back sometimes at the end of a week and wonder what the next whirlwind week will bring, but I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world.
Have you seen a change in the way that pet owners buy and care for their animals?
I think the change in the way people buy and care for their pets very much has to do with the shift in people’s perception of how they think of their pet. Today, people see their pet as that special member of the family, the one who will love you, show you affection and be your best mate, no matter what. Previously pets were just that – “pets” – we did love them and care about them, but we didn’t have the same understanding of our pets’ needs as we do now.
As people understand how a healthy balanced diet helps us as humans, we too have seen a huge change in the way people buy for their pet. People now have a better understanding of how important it is for their pets to have a high quality, balanced diet. We carry one of the largest ranges of Premium Pet Foods in the area and definitely find that customers want to know exactly what is going in their pets’ mouths. As the education of living a healthy lifestyle increases, so too has the benefits of passing this healthy lifestyle onto our pets.
This is one of the reasons behind us implementing the Just For Pets Free Six Point Health Check, where people can bring their pets in for a consultation with one of our pet experts and really make sure they get the right information on what is best for their pet. During the check, our Pet Expert will check your pets’ weight and nutrition, skin and coat, parasites, joint mobility, dental health and behaviour. I think the Free Six Point Health Check really fits in with the changes in the way we now buy and care for our pets and is such a great service for customers to use to ensure their pet is getting the very best.
Any new innovations on the horizon for the Pet Barn?
There are so many exciting things in the shop now, with our Free Six Point Health Check up and running with our Pet Experts, our fabulous new Pet Groomer, Jessica Bird, and we have a gorgeous coral display tank that we set up about six months ago. We have our Marine Man, Adam, on board to help anyone out who is looking to venture down the road of marines and/or corals.
We are very passionate to continue our work with our Local Rescue Groups and help rehome and give animals a loving new start; it is the reason you will not see puppies and kittens in store, but we feel very strongly about how important it is to help provide these animals with a second chance.
In all, I think the only way is up for us, and we are very excited about what the future hold for Taree Pet Barn.
Thanks so much, Bree – my kids and I will see you when we are in next!
Interview by Lynda Bryant from www.thephotographyhub.com.au
This article was from issue 101 of Manning-Great Lakes Focus