From our Unique story so far you can see a pattern of growth every two years, always driven by our wonderful customers. 2020 therefore was supposed to be a year of consolidation, of enjoying the additional space in the warehouse and a steady supply of our own raw food. But the Covid-19 pandemic at the start of the year threw a spanner in the works!
We had to temporarily close the large Aylesbury shop as we didn’t have the people to maintain safe social distancing in store, and if one member of staff became sick it would have wiped out the entire team in quarantine. So we kept the small shop in Winslow open as that could operate on a 1-2-1 basis, and moved the rest of the business to a crude online model. Orders had to be emailed, and we operated a collection point from the Aylesbury shop as well as increasing our delivery capacity.
Unfortunately, after haemorrhaging £9k a week during 13 weeks of the first lockdown as all our services were cancelled, we had to take the heart-breaking decision to close the large shop in Aylesbury altogether, along with Unique Grooming and Pool for Paws. For years we had resisted an online shop as we are all about customer service and individual interaction, but our hand had been forced. In just a few weeks we built a basic website to place orders, which cut down the administration and allowed the team more time to process orders.
We are grateful to customers who persevered through the various teething problems with this early incarnation of our website. We know that navigation was a little challenging at times, and there were caching issues along with server speed and a lack of products online. We worked tirelessly over the summer setting up a new website, adding products, improving the search engine, and generally making the customer journey as smooth as possible.
Improvements to the online shop are being made all the time, and it will always be a work-in-progress. However we hope that you agree the new website is much smoother and easier to navigate. Due to customer demand we have also added the option to have an appointment with Jenna at the warehouse, and are beginning to open it up as a shop to regain that customer contact.
We are so happy to share our Unique story with you. And we are so grateful that you have supported us all this time. Please continue to do what you do best and recommend us to all your friends, family and acquaintances – our success depends on YOU!