On Saturday, a new independent pet store is opening on Hough Lane in Leyland, selling animals, pet food, pet accessories and more, making it the the only shop of its kind in the area.
'Furground', appropriately named after its fairground theme, has been set up by 28 year old animal lover and mum of one Sarah Mackay from Leyland, and will be open from 9 am- 6 pm on its opening day.
Sarah, who already owns a chameleon, a bearded dragon, a tortoise, eight pigs, eight hamsters, four rabbits, two cats, a bulldog and a fish herself said: "I wanted to start this business because I have always loved animals, I've done a full animal education course with Myerscough College, I've worked in pet shops previously, I've volunteered two different summers in South Africa on conservation work, so it's always been in my nature to work with animals and I just thought I'm going to bite the bullet and do it myself.
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"For me it's about getting animals from respected breeders and not farms and doing it properly, giving people true information on animals and how to take care of them properly. I enjoy speaking to people, I'm bubbly with them, and once I've engaged in a conversation, I could talk about a guinea pig for an hour! There's also nothing like this around, only in the next towns over, there is a pet store in Leyland Market but that's just accessories and food, and the closest that reptile owners can go for live food is Pets at Home at the Capitol Centre."
The store currently has two chameleons, two leopard geckos, a bearded dragon, rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters for sale, although in future Sarah hopes to have snakes, crested geckos, tortoises, and rats, amongst others, and in order to purchase one of the shop's animal, all those interested will be vetted and checked by Furground.
Furground will also sell regular pet food and treats, frozen pet food such as fish, live insects for reptiles, and pet accessories such as beds, collars, leads, toys and health and wellbeing products, or as Sarah says "any pet thing you can think of, I've got it!"
Explaining the store's name and theme, Sarah said: "I wanted something that was fun, and when I was rattling things off, I realised that when us northerners say 'fairground', it rolls of our tongue like 'fur', and I wanted to give my shop that warm embrace feeling like someone walks in and enjoys it, like it's aesthetically pleasing to be in there. I didn't just want it to be a bog standard pet shop, I wanted it to be an experience as well for people."
Furground, which is on the site of an old amusement arcade, has been a long time coming, as although Sarah first sought planning permission to turn the property into 'retail' in August, she only received full permission from the council in mid November.
However Sarah's process has been followed by many local people, with her original Facebook announcement back in August now having nearly 300 likes and 200 comments.
Sarah, who will run the business with the help of her partner Steven, added: "It's been a hell of a process, but I'm finally there. I'm really nervous and have a little bit of cabin fever because I've been in that shop for nearly four months on my own doing it up, but I'm feeling really relieved to finally let people in and see it, and I know everyone will enjoy it, anybody who's been in already has really liked it.
"I've had a lot of support from Leyland for it, a lot of people have said this is what Leyland needed, so to already have that community behind me is really really nice. Eventually, I'm hoping that, as I have so much for everybody, it will become a little household name, but for now, I just want to say please come and see us, enjoy the shop, enjoy the animals and come for a chat!"
Asides from its opening day times, the store will be open every Tuesday to Friday between 10am - 6pm, and Saturdays between 9:30am - 5:30pm, and dogs are always welcome as customers as well.
To find out more about Furground, visit its Facebook page.