Celebrating 25 years of pet success in Essex

In this modern day when many family high-street businesses are boarding up and quitting, it is almost unique to discover one about to celebrate running in Brentwood and beyond for twenty five years. One pet shop has defied the system.

It wasn't always known as Creatures Great and Small when Keith and Kathy Wood opened up in Brentwood in 1994.  As Keith explains:

"Dog is the mythical animal and Wood is the Eastern element of a person born on September 9, 1994. So it was almost inevitable when business started in Brentwood it was under the franchise of Dogsbody and Cat tails. It opened to great fanfare of publicity on Friday September 9,  1994. Pink standard poodles strutting the High Street loud music, celebration cakes, special offers and champagne flowed as customers flocked to the shop to experience “the pet shop on the high street”. New business – huge success.!"

So successful that BBC's TV cameras were there to feature the opening in a series  featuring franchises.

There was competition. Three other pet shops.  Wyevale down the road, fish speciality rear of Crown Street and pet shop on the Ongar Road. Sadly, all gone now, lost to giving way to professionalism and greater customer service.

Initially Keith and Kathy set up the business as a partnership. Keith says:

"We both came from professional backgrounds, Kathy as a manager in confectionary and me as a commercial executive in a utility company. We were pet lovers and had beautiful SchiTzu dogs. We were aware that there were people out there who loved their animals as much as we did and realised there was a business opportunity for a well-managed pet store in the high street. Priorities: Clean, smart, not “itchy scratchy” and selling high quality well-chosen and sourced goods."

Opening the Billericay store

It became the leading pet store in the area selling quality pet foods and accessories and employing staff that really understood the needs of the customer and, after one year the business became independent rebranding as Creatures Great & Small and a second store opened in Billericay on 13th December 1995 and the following year a third in Loughton

Success bred success. To meet customers who needed quality dog grooming, the firm employed City and Guild qualified beauticians with skill and talent and a real love for their pets. From pet shop beginnings, Creatures Great & Small was born as a full business. As Keith explains:

"It went from strength to strength. We had a superb staff who served their customers well but loved their job and had a detailed knowledge and experience of pet care They shared this with their loyal customers who returned again and again and we repaid their loyalty by widening our stock choice and development."

Five years ago, after a long period of research "Creatures" developed their own brand of food which sells strongly today and  have now added to their range a selection of raw and frozen food heavily recommended by vets. In addition, a comprehensive range of quality pet accessories and treats from a broad range completes the sales landscape.

Keith, a past president of the Billericay Rotary Club, admits it's time to prepare for a hard-earned retirement. He is stepping away and handing over to his daughter Kimberley who says:

"I will give the business the love and attention to detail that dad and the rest of the team have indwelt into it. Under that careful mentorship I know that Creatures Great and Small will continue to serve its customers well and continue to be more than just 'the pet shop on the high street'. We look forward to the next 25 years!"

Thank you to customers during COVID-19

Kimberley wanted to thank all the support received from customers during the pandemic and also want to give a huge thank you to store Manager Helena.

"She has personally supported me throughout the past year and certainly throughout the COVID pandemic. Her dedication and commitment to lead our team is wonderful."