A POPULAR business owner has bid a fond farewell to customers as he hands over the reins to his shop after 12 years on Uppermill High Street.
Gary Winterbottom has been running Village Pets on Court Street for just over a decade with the help of his partner Elaine but now the pair are venturing to pastures new.
The shop, which sells a huge array of pet food, bedding and accessories, will be taken over on February 1 by Tom and Mike who own the DIY Centre just around the corner.
And Gary, who is a familiar sight outside his shop greeting passers-by, hopes his customers will be as loyal and welcoming to the new owners as they have been to him over the years.
Gary and Elaine said: “After 12 years in business we have decided to hand over Village Pets to a new owner – Tom and Mike who also own the DIY centre next door.
“Gary is looking forward to a well-earned rest before we decide upon our new venture.
“We would like to thank all our friends and customers for their custom, support and kind words.
“We hope Village Pets will continue to thrive under new ownership for many years to come and we hope our customers show them the same support they have shown us.”
Gary revealed he has been overwhelmed by the good wishes and kind words of his customers since they announced they would be leaving the shop.
He has received a host of presents and cards from them, including ones saying ‘you’ll be missed’ and ‘you’re the best pet shop owner in the UK’.
“We’ve had some lovely comments from customers and it really means a lot,” Gary said.
“It’s hard work running your own business seven days a week and we’ve done it for a long time now so it’s time for something new.”