A pet store in Worcester is forced to close as the price of electricity continues to soar.
Aquatics and Reptiles in Swanpool Walk closes at the end of the month after 14 years in St John’s.
And owner Clive Longstaff says rising energy bills are to blame.
“Our electric bill went from £883 per month to £2,190 per month in April,” he said.
“There has also been a 30% drop in sales because people don’t have money in their pockets to go out and shop.
“The government knew this was happening in February – they knew prices would go up in October and again in January – but nothing was done.
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“Some companies seem to be doing very well, but the retail sector has been hit hard.”
Clive said the cost of heating aquariums and vivariums also hits pet owners hard.
“People are giving up their aquariums and reptiles because they’re costing them too much at home,” he said.
“We’ve had people ask us to take snakes, bearded dragons and fish because they can’t afford to take care of them anymore.
“You can’t skimp on the heating”
“They are tropical animals. Bearded dragons come from Australia and are used to 40°C heat – you can’t skimp on heating.
Clive, who has been in the pet industry for 37 years, will offer pond and aquarium maintenance services from his home in Malvern.
Anyone trying to reach him after the store closes on September 30 can call 07419831820 or email [email protected]
Another staff member, Lucy Gooderham, will provide reptile accommodations under the name Worcester Reptile Boarding.
Regarding the animals in the shop, Clive said: “Reptiles are selling slowly, but we’re not selling them cheap – they’re animals and they need to go to a good home.
“We always make sure that every owner is checked to make sure they have the right equipment and the right setup.
“If the reptiles are still there at the end of the month, the staff will bring some home and I will bring some home.”