Owner Padraig McCaffrey and Archie Sztejno

Pet Shop Boyz reeling in customers

BUSINESS PROFILE

One positive to be taken from the last year and half is an appreciation of the spectacular beauty that surrounds us here in Cavan. Getting out in the open air has been the upside of a pandemic that had very little else going for it.

As restrictions ease many people continue to embrace the outdoors and Cavan’s Pet Shop Boyz has taken on extra staff to meet this increasing customer demand. Padraig McCaffrey is the owner of the business facilitating the growing interest in the outdoors life.

Pet Shop Boyz offers a range of pets, pet accessories, outdoor equipment and boasts a newly expanded angling section that’s a wonderland for anyone with an interest in fishing. The upstairs of the store located at Moynehall Business Park on the Ballinagh Road is an Aladdin’s Cave of rods, reels and fishing tackle.

Behind the counter is Artur “Archie” Sztejno. Archie is a passionate fisherman and he brings that enthusiasm to work: “This year people will be spending more time in Ireland,” he explains. “Cavan has so much to offer for fishing, whether it’s serious anglers or just taking the kids out to do an activity you wouldn’t normally do.”

Archie knows everything about the goods on offer in Pet Shop Boyz, and knows every customer is different: “Not everyone will want to buy the top of the range rods and reels. We provide equipment for beginners as well as the experienced anglers.

“Every style of fishing is catered for; coarse fishing, predator fishing to fly fishing and every type in between. We provide equipment to enhance your fishing experience here at Pet Shop Boyz.”

In the Lakelands we are blessed with an abundance of fishing options. Archie says many customers know what they are looking for: “Pike fishing is the main thing here. Everyone who fishes in Cavan wants to catch a pike.

“Coarse fishing is very popular, there has been an increase in the popularity of perch fishing. It’s more difficult as a game sport, but it’s thrilling to fish for it.”

When asked if he gives hints on fishing locations he says: “I prefer not, because that could be my spot,” before breaking into a laughs, “of course it’s not a big secret. We have a few rivers that are really good. The Annalee and the Erne are perfect fishing rivers. Many anglers want to find their own spot, that’s one of the great pleasures of fishing. It’s part of the adventure.”

The lockdown gave many people time to indulge their hobbies. Archie says this created a high demand for fishing goods: “Predator fishing stock Pure fishing brands such as Abu Garcia, Berkley, Pennn, Spiderwire, Shakespear and JRC are popular. We have brought some exciting new brands to Cavan like Lucky John and Tailwalk. I was fishing on Lough Sheelin at the weekend and I caught some lovely big trout.”

The store also offer Baltic lifejackets for anglers and water sports enthusiasts and even for their pet cats and dogs. Another exciting new brand is the Norfin outdoor clothing and hiking shoes and boots.

Owner Padraig McCaffrey says expanding the line of angling goods seemed like a natural move over the last year: “We just saw the gap in the market. Cavan has no fishing store on this scale. I knew Archie was the best man for the job, because he knows an awful lot about fishing.”

The downstairs section of the shop (specialising in pets, pet food and accessories) has been operating for seven years. The business owner got a good reaction from customers: “We find lads will come in to buy angling equipment and their partners may peruse the clothing end of the shop.

“Sometimes he comes back later so she won’t how much he is spending on his hobby,” Padraig jokes.

The store is well known for the range of reptiles, exotic fish, birds, hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs. They also offer everything in pet accessories including collars, leads, toys and treats as well as shampoos, conditioners and animal bedding. Across the two floors customers can get assistance on food and accessories for all their pets.

The popularity of the store is in part down to the advice the customers can receive: “We have a small equestrian section and camping section. We have hiking boots, walking equipment and clothing that is essential for the outdoor lifestyle.

“We can advise on what is the most appropriate for the weather at the time. Even if you are only out walking the dog it’s important to have the right jacket. There is a big difference in the comfort and enjoyment you get on a walk if you have breathable, appropriate clothing,” Padraig says.

One of the innovative services on offer at Pet Shop Boyz is the grooming service on offer from Monday to Sunday: “This has proven to be very popular,” Padraig concluded.

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