A pet shop in Finchley, North London, will close its doors for the final time on Saturday with online shopping being blamed for the store’s demise.
Over the years Dunlop Pet Shop on Long Lane has suffered many setbacks, including burglaries and a major fire, but owner Stephen Dunlop says he can no longer compete with the internet.
The 63-year-old started work in the shop 47 years ago to help out his parents while they went on holiday. It turned into a job for life and he even met his wife Gill in the store as she was a regular customer.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes down this street,” said Stephen. “There used to be three greengrocers, three butchers and four bakers but they’ve all gone now, killed off by the supermarkets and the internet.
“The fact that Barnet Council won’t give us 30 minutes free parking on the high street hasn’t helped either.”
Stephen is set to retire but his son Simon will continue to work in the fishkeeping industry. He runs a fish tank maintenance and installation business called Happy Tanks, which he built up at Dunlop Pet Shop.
Simon said: “This Saturday is going to be a very sad day. We have a loyal and decent customer base but the younger generation are not coming because they’re buying things like pet food and fish tanks on the interent.
“We used to see a hundred people coming in on a Saturday but now we’re lucky if we get 45 or 50.”