Dog-friendly shop welcomes customers' four-legged friends to avoid fears of dog theft
A dog-loving couple are helping fellow pet owners keep Man’s best friend safe by welcoming them in as customers to their shop.
Jeff and Beverley Manship took over Sea Road Convenience Store in Fulwell in November last year, offering a lifeline during the pandemic, with curbside pick-ups and deliveries offered to keep people safe.
But it is also helping to keep shoppers’ dogs out of harm’s way, as they are welcomed in with their owners so they are not at risk following concerns over dog thefts.
Their own dog, five-year-old Bichon Frise-poodle cross Marley, often joins them at the counter too.
Jeff said: “We are dog-friendly. I wouldn’t want to leave my dog tied up outside a shop, someone can just walk by and they’re gone.
"We always have a bowl outside, to make sure they can have a drink if they’ve just come off the beach.
"A lot of regulars come in with a treat for Marley.”
The Manships, who live in Jarrow and are parents to Dominic, 16, and Mollie, 13, spotted the store was up for grabs while visiting Seaburn for a meal.
They had been on the look out for a shop to run after Jeff was made redundant from his car parts job, having started days after the furlough cut off point, while Beverley has set out on a career change, having previously worked in car rentals.
In addition to every day items, they added locally-sourced items to their shelves including Poetic License gin from Roker, Lighthouse vodka made in North Shields, beer from Houghton-based Maxim Brewery and books written by city author Glenda Young.
Their new business has already won recognition, with the pair named as retail heroes by PayPoint for their services to the community, which have also included running a raffle to raise people’s spirits, with funds raised for the RNLI.
Jeff said: "We went for a meal at Goa and came down Sea Road and saw the inquiries board, so on the way back, we stopped and took down the number.
"It had been shut for a year, and was almost empty.
"It’s been going steady, we’ve got a lot of regulars and we try and get the deals in.
"We’re independent, so we can put on what we like, rather than anyone telling you.”