Although it can be exhausting running the stall on a busy show day it's well worth it to meet so many lovely dogs with their owners. Our customers benefit from being able to see and handle products as well as hear us talk about key features and why we stock each brand. Jeanie is our buyer and therefore Product Expert, she also coaches helpers on the stall in product information.
On every show day we try to select a Dog of the Show which has no set criteria except to stand out to us in some way. We're not fussy, the selection can be due to personality, behaviour, looks, unusual or rare breed and even owner or dog's story. At some events we get carried away and have several selections although this year that could cost as there will be a bonus for every dog we pick and photograph for our Facebook page.
Following our business philosophy we also carefully consider our equipment purchases:
The Gazebo - Although there is a company who design and manufacture gazebos in Britain we chose Rock Awnings who display very clear pricing on their website and provided us with great customer service. We also wanted to be sure of the longevity of our purchase so the industry standard professional gazebos they supply mean we can, if necessary, obtain spare parts elsewhere. Every part of the frame can be replaced individually which means in years to come we shouldn't need to replace the entire frame in one go. Unfortunately the gazebo canopy is looking tired after two years of heavy use and as we are currently revamping our logo we have decided to replace the canopy at some point this year.
As Trigger from Only Fools and Horses said about his broom.
"Maintained it for 20 years. This old broom's had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time."
The Display Equipment - Any new stands, hooks or racks we need are bought from Display Stands UK, a reputable supplier only 10 miles from our base in Bishops Waltham. This company again supply generic industry equipment but they also design and manufacture under their own name. Jeanie has spent time discussing with them flat pack options for mobile use as most shop fittings are designed for static locations.
Storage and Transport Solutions - Customers may have seen our green and grey plastic storage boxes tucked away on the stall and thought "That's not very eco friendly." Well, you're right. We need extremely robust tubs to survive being bounced around in the trailer and have found these Wham Bam boxes which can be thrown off a building without breaking. Within the range there are now boxes made from recycled plastic and we shall be purchasing those in the future.
Both our Public Liability Insurance and Vehicle Insurance are now covered by Evergreen Insurance Services who donate up to 25% of their commission to wildlife and conservation charities.
Bits and Bobs - We are always spotting second hand items we can make use of on the stall to display our products in a different way and depending upon the stock we take to each show you may see a few of them now and then. If we need to use lighting that has to be up to current safety standards but our power is supplied from a rechargeable leisure battery which, well maintained, should last quite a few years. The gazebo pegs are gradually being replaced with sturdier British made ones and any time we have a need for other equipment we will continue to research thoroughly before we buy.
Jeanie with Sammy, the Stall Dog who said goodbye to this world a few weeks before the start of the 2017 show season.
Dawn with her dog Boss who sadly crossed over to Rainbow Bridge in March 2017.