Pet shop

Pet shop owner Ely looks back on his first year in business

2:45 pm February 22, 2022

An exotic pet shop owner who opened during a Covid-19 lockdown has reflected on what he thinks has been an unexpected success a year after starting business.

Tom Bailey opened Ely Exotics on Sedgeway Business Park in Witchford on February 20 last year, his first business in east Cambridgeshire since moving two years ago.

“It was my idea to open a shop like this and something I had wanted to do for several years,” Tom said.

“It was always something in my head as a possibility that I could do while I was furloughed.”

While Tom was on vacation, he used his free time to plan a new exotic pet shop near his home.

And after getting a unit in the business park, his goal was about to come true.

“I didn’t know what to expect when we opened,” Tom said.

“We’ve had lockdowns, rule changes, wearing masks, people want to go out so they don’t.

“But the support we’ve had from local people has been fantastic.”

Tom Bailey opened Ely Exotics on Sedgeway Business Park in Witchford a year ago during a Covid-19 lockdown.
– Credit: Tom Bailey

Thousands of animals, from tropical fish to reptiles, have made Ely Exotics their temporary home which has attracted more people than Tom initially thought.

“I was very surprised at how many people keep exotic animals in the area,” he said.

“I think people are spending more time at home with family than before.

“I like to think that the reason for success is that we provide quality cattle and a range of products you can trust, as well as customer service in terms of advice.”

Ely Exotics remained open during the Covid-19 lockdown last February as it was classified as an essential store.

Ely Exotics store on Sedgeway Business Park

Tom Bailey, owner of Ely Exotics, plans to expand as it is set to overtake its current facility at Sedgeway Business Park in Witchford.
– Credit: Ely Exotics

And although their first year of business was successful, Tom plans to expand further.

“I project that in the next five years we will be in a larger facility; the first year we packed the place!” he added.

“We hope to continue to expand the range of products we offer, adding other services like nationwide delivery.

“We have a website launching soon and are looking to do more breeding in-house, so we want to try to grow in a way that consumers like.”