Why Kathy is happy with her labour of love - pet shop owner clocks up 20 years in charge

Winning team: Kathy O'Connor and Michael Shaylor with a couple of friends
Winning team: Kathy O'Connor and Michael Shaylor with a couple of friends

Kathy O’Connor admits she took one of the biggest gambles of her life when she decided to open a pet shop in Horncastle.

At the time, she had very little businesses experience - and even less money.

Twenty years on and Kathy has no regrets. Her business - Horncastle Pet Centre in North Street - is going from strength to strength.

She must be one of the longest serving business owners in the town.

Happily, Kathy has no plans to call it a day and hopes to add another employee to the wage roll next month.

Kathy said: “I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs.

“I’d helped out grooming dogs after leaving school and then I saw the business advertised in the local paper.

“It was a pet shop at the time so I thought - why not?”

Kathy admits she had to learn very quickly.

She explained: “There were a few times in the first few weeks when I wondered what I’d done.

“There was a lot of pressure - and a few sleepless nights - but I had a lot of support.

“Now, I’ve absolutely no regrets. I love it.”

Kathy has seen a lot of changes during the last couple of decades.

When she started out, she sold a variety of pets including rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters.

There isn’t the same demand these days.

Now, she tends to specialise on the dog grooming side of the business - and animal feedstuffs.

She added: “The dog grooming is going very well and it’s something I really enjoy.”

Kathy regularly attends workshops and competitions. She is a City and Guilds assessor at Grimsby Institute and holds an impressive array of qualifications, as does assistant groomer Jenny Rose.

Michael Shaylor joined Kathy as a business partner seven years ago.

They own eight dogs and - as Kathy admits - their job really is a labour of love.