Oil worker to open pet shop plus expansion for Aberdeen valet business – The Press & Journal


Steve Bruce outside his new pet shop in Westhill. Picture by Wullie Marr / DC Thomson
Steve Bruce outside his new pet shop in Westhill. Picture by Wullie Marr / DC Thomson

An Aberdeen oil and gas worker is opening a new pet shop in nearby Westhill.

Stephen Bruce has been running a mobile store, Pawz Pet Supplies, for the past two years.

The particular 49-year-old has personally invested nearly £30, 000 in the business and is now preparing to open new premises in Westhill Shopping Centre in the coming weeks.

Mr Bruce, who is also a part-time rope inspection equipment engineer, has signed a five-year lease and is relishing the challenge.

He said: “There has been a lot of doom and gloom around businesses, but a number of reasons spring to mind as to why open a shop.

It’s been over 19 years since there was a pet shop in Westhill and they’ve all been desperate for one. ”

Steve Bruce, owner, Pawz Pet Supplies.

“When you’re listening to your customers excitement, the encouragement and support makes it so much easier to make the decision.

“Strategically, I thought Westhill was the best option. It needs a lot of work but everyone has been super positive and supportive.

“It’s been over 19 years since there was a pet shop in Westhill and they’ve all been desperate for one. ”

The shop will also have a dog grooming salon.

Loyal customer base

Mr Bruce works nights and weekends visiting communities across the north-east with his mobile trailer business.

And he has no plans to stop that anytime soon.

He stated: “It’s been a fantastic two years so far, bearing in mind I started in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

“The help from all the sites I trade from, Belhelvie Church, Balmedie Leisure Centre, Trellis Coffee Shop, Dyce Market and of-course Westhill Shopping Centre has been great.

“If it wasn’t for all the amazing customers plus their pets I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today – this is the main reason I need to keep the mobile supply going.

“I feel a sense of duty to all my loyal customers to continue what in effect they started. ”

Mister Bruce has been helped along the way by his wife, Lindsay, who also deals with the social media for Pawz Pet Supplies.

The particular couple have two Lhasa apso dogs, Charlie and Lottie.

Lottie and Charlie

“There’s no point in just dipping my toe in the water, ” Mr Bruce said, adding: “Given the investment I’ve made so far, I thought why not do a decent lease?

“By year three I’d like to see another store opening after the reaction I’ve seen so far. ”

‘Happy to take a risk’

The cost-of-doing business crisis is cause for concern but Mr Bruce believes the benefits of shop ownership outweigh the risks.

He mentioned: “I’ve got customers who are in the energy industry looking for the best deals for me.

“I think we need to try it and monitor as we go along.

“I can’t see I’m going to use a significant amount of electric.

“It will only be lighting and the grooming salon that’ll use energy. I’m quite happy to take the risk.

“There is a mountain to climb, along with a significant investment, but it will almost all be worth it once I open the doors and finally start another chapter in the Pawz – dare I say it – empire. ”

Mitchell’s shining in Aberdeen

Business is also booming for Mitchell’s Detailing .

Owner Marcus Mitchell provides mobile valeting to homes and workplaces, as well as vehicle detailing in house.

He moved to larger premises on Novar Place, Aberdeen, earlier this year and is now looking to expand their workforce to keep up with demand.

New contracts worth thousands of pounds have been secured recently, while he has also added a new mobile van to his fleet.

Mr Mitchell, who launched his firm out of his sister’s garage within 2018 and went full-time in July 2020, said: “Business has been really good.

“The issue we had in our old premises was we could fit in only one car at a time and each job could take three to four days to complete, leaving us with a big waiting list.

l-r Aron Radics and Marcus Mitchell outside the firm’s new premises on Novar Place.

“When we moved to Novar Place it was quite a shock, because I could fit three cars in the unit and it shrunk the waiting list.

“We are now looking to recruit one more staff member and then, hopefully, another.

“We’ve also bought another van to keep up with demand for the mobile work and have won contracts to work on fleets of cars for estate agents and oil companies. ”

Impact of cost crisis

As for the cost-of-doing business crisis, Mr Mitchell, supported by his head of mobile, Aron Radics, has been helped by him securing a two-year fixed energy contract four months ago.

But he has been forced to increase prices, due to the rising costs of materials and services.

He said: “When we moved to this building We panicked and thought it would be a fortune, as we were running more equipment and lights.

“But I have a smart meter so keep an eye on it, and it’s not already been as bad as I thought it would be.

“A lot of companies panicked and put their prices up without even knowing what was happening.

“Our suppliers for services put their prices up by 8%. We tried to keep it below that but earlier this month had to put up prices up by 8%. Our customers were happy with that. ”

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