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Animal and Garden House relaunches online

New approach: Jennifer McCarron’s Animal & Garden House is back in business (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

Garden and pet supply store Animal and Garden House is back in business as a web-only operation.Owner Jennifer McCarron closed her bricks and mortar shop on Cemetery Road, Pembroke at the end of June citing rising costs, and a drop in sales that she attributes to a road closure made to facilitate construction at Belco.But, at the urging of her loyal customer base and with the support of her family, Ms McCarron says she had a rethink.“We closed June 30, but stayed another month to pack up, and paint and clean,” she said. “The doors were closed, we were packing up, but customers kept coming. They told us ‘don’t go out of business’, and they came up with ideas about how we could stay in business.“That’s how it evolved, that we would stay in business, but do it differently. That’s how going web-based came up, which is a fantastic idea because that’s how people are shopping these days.”Although the seed of the idea was planted in July, it wasn’t until another few weeks had passed that the plan germinated, Ms McCarron said.At the time, a job search was proving difficult.“It was probably in August that we decided,” she said. “I was still waiting for a job to come through when me, my daughter, Elysse, and my son, Matthew, did this rethink and came up with this.”Ms McCarron said the move to an online operation will eliminate the crippling overhead that she faced on Cemetery Road, where monthly rent for the 8,000-square-foot space was $6,500. Adding service charges took the monthly obligation to nearly $10,000, she said.“I can be a lot more competitive with pricing now,” Ms McCarron says.The business will also offer a weekly rodent maintenance programme for residential and business customers, as well as a fruit tree maintenance operation.Ms McCarron will run the resurrected business with her mother, Jeanette Vieira. The twosome ran the Cemetery Road store with the help of one additional employee, who will not be joining the online operation.Ms McCarron and Ms Vieira have four cats, two dogs and four chickens.“This was our dream,” Ms McCarron says of the store. “My father was in business, too. “Having pets and a garden is our passion.”She says the business will import the bestselling pet and garden supply product lines, while accepting special orders for other products. Ms McCarron expects the website to be fully operational by week’s end, and in the meantime she is taking orders by e-mail, phone or via Facebook. Customers can collect their orders from a storage location in Warwick or, if the order is large enough, the business will deliver, she says. Animal & Garden House can be reached at 292-3705, by e-mail at animalgardenbda@outlook.com, or on Facebook. The web address is www.animalgardenbda.com