Married couple Alison and Steve Critchley have set up a new franchise delivering premium quality pet food in the Preston area as part of the Bolton-based Heights Farm Premium Pet Foods’ operation.
The couple have run various businesses over the years including a grocers off license in Church and separately, Alison has worked as a teaching assistant while Steve worked in transport for over 40 years.
Stephen Ward, founder and owner of Heights Farm Premium Pet Foods set up the company in response to his own experience of the pet food industry when his Douge De Bordeaux Mastiff, Milo started to develop a number of allergies which started to make his life very tough.
Despite being put on a prescription diet by the vet and taking a course of steroid tablets, the vet bills started to mount and Milo’s itchy skin condition continued once he stopped taking the tablets. Prolonged use of steroids could also have had serious side effects such as liver and kidney damage and it was only after switching to a salmon-based hypoallergenic dry food that many of Milo’s symptoms started to clear up.
Heights Farm has enjoyed steady and consistent growth over the past six months through word of mouth. The model is based on a personal one-to-one service, with products not available on the high street delivered to the doors of customers.
Alison said: “I have always loved animals, especially dogs, so I then started to look at different franchises with animals in mind. Quite a few left me disappointed and I began to lose interest in ever finding the right one. Then in February this year we saw Stephen, the Founder of Heights Farm and chatted for a while about his products, we got our dog a sample or two and went home.
“We then went on their website to find out more about their hypoallergenic food range for Chance and saw that there was an opportunity to buy a franchise and downloaded a prospectus. We read all about it and were so impressed at how the company had grown from their own beloved dog, Milo having allergies. At this point we were already interested.”
Steve added: “We love the outdoors, walking, meeting people and we, obviously, love dogs. Running our own franchise means we can have our own dog with us too. Owning a dog is a massive responsibility and making sure they have the correct diet is very important. We want to be able to help pet owners make the right choice in deciding what to feed their animals and for us that choice was Heights Farm Pet Foods’ hypoallergenic dog food.
“We have a Saluki, Chance. He’s eight years old and we’ve had him since he was eight weeks old. He loves his Heights Farm Foods; his favourite is the Lamb and Rice. I think his new favourite place is in the Heights Farm van, especially in the back with all the treats. He loves them all, especially the black pudding and venison sticks.”