Self-employed oil worker Stephen Bruce always had a plan to run his own pet supplies store when he retired.
But the dream was accelerated when Covid-19 hit and he was faced with a reduction in working days.
The 49-year-old now combines his onshore work with running the mobile pet shop Pawz Pet Supplies.
Mr Bruce, a rope inspection equipment engineer, works nights and weekends visiting communities across the north-east with his mobile trailer business.
He stocks a range of items for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, fish and wild birds.
Mr Bruce started the business in September last year and has seen it grow week upon week.
He said: “I have been self-employed within the oil industry for a number of years and I have always had the dream of running a pet supplies store as a retirement idea.
“With the downturn in the oil, I found myself on reduced days so I took the plunge to provide a mobile pet supplies.
“I followed my dream and it’s gone from strength to strength. I’ve never looked back.
“We’ve done pretty well with turnover and my clients know they are getting value for money.
“We provide customers with a personal experience when buying their loving pet a natural treat, toy, bed or whatever they have in mind.”
Mr Bruce has been helped along the way by his wife Lindsay who also deals with the social media for Pawz Pet Supplies.
The couple have two Lhasa apso dogs, Charlie and Lottie.
Mr Bruce said: “The business has been set up to give the customers a solution to save travelling into town and also having a saving in their weekly expenses on their pet food.
“It is all down to the public with their kind words, continued support, sharing the social media posts and of course taking their dogs to have a look and pick their own treats.
“We support other local businesses by selling their animal products for them too.”
‘All worthwhile on many levels’
Starting the new business has also been described as therapeutic by Mr Bruce who himself suffers from fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
He said: “Without a doubt, and not just the financial aspect, also from a mental health and general wellbeing aspect too, there is a lot to be said about dogs’ healing attributes.
“The public do not realise what a fantastic service they have with their pets.
“Just seeing their happy wagging dogs when they come in has helped with the mental health aspect and being a sufferer of fibromyalgia, it has made it all worth while on so many levels.”
Looking to the future Mr Bruce hopes to start selling his products online.
The North East Now campaign has made it easy for people to support local firms from a wide range of industries during the pandemic.
For further information on Pawz Pet Supplies, visit www.facebook.com/pawzps
To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot