THE owner of a Wirral pet shop that opened 60 years ago has made the "difficult decision" to sell-up and close the business.

Pet Needs, in Liscard, was opened by Terry Smith's father Ron in 1964. Unfortunately, following two recent major health scares - a hernia operation and heart bypass, Terry has made the decision to sell up.

It will remain open until the premises are sold. 

Pet Needs' owners Terry and Orla SmithPet Needs' owners Terry and Orla Smith (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest)

The 60-year-old, who runs the shop with wife Orla and lives in West Kirby told the Globe: "I've been working here since I was 17.

How Pet Needs' front used to lookHow Pet Needs' front used to look (Image: Terry Smith) "The shop continues to do well, but I feel the time is right to sell the business and would like to have some time, while I am reasonably healthy, to enjoy my retirement."

"The shop has been through a number of changes over the years, with competition from on-line shopping, pet superstores and other shops, but we've always managed to keep going.

"Even during the Covid pandemic, we were busier than ever, because we were one of the few shops that were classed as an essential food store and had new customers in.

"We're a unique shop, in that we're an animal accessory and foods shop but we also sell hamsters and budgies too. 

Pet Needs' owners Terry and Orla SmithPet Needs' owners Terry and Orla Smith (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest) "We have a strong clientele. Customers have brought their children, grandchildren to the support the shop.

"I pride myself on the personal service that my family has continued to provide, in spite of increased competition from both online and big-name national competitors.

"Many of my father's customers now bring their grandchildren to Pet Needs, to continue the tradition of supporting a local business."

Unsurprisingly, Terry has lots of special memories from his six decades at the shop.

"I've got lots of memories of the shop over the years," he said. "When I go home each night, Orla's dad loves to hear them; for example last week a girl had lost hamster.

"Her mum had promised her a hamster and a cage, they were due in. She finally came back in again and we were able to sell her a hamster. She was made up."

On another memory, Terry continued: "Years ago, my dad had a Mynah Bird in the shop called Joe and it was a great talker. My dad had a smoker's cough and Joe would imitate this cough.

"One day there was a break-in. The people went to a lot of trouble and broke in through the back, making a hole in one of the doors.

"We came in on the Monday morning, this is when I was a boy, saw the damage but nothing was stolen.

"All we can think of is that the Mynah Bird must have said 'hello' and frightened the life out of whoever had broken in and they were gone."   

Pet Needs' owners Terry and Orla SmithPet Needs' owners Terry and Orla Smith (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest) Looking to the future, Terry said: "The shop will remain open until a buyer for the premises is found.

"I don't know how long it will take to sell, but am happy enough to keep going until the day comes and see what happens after that.

"I'll be very upset when I have to close and hand the keys overs for the final time, but things can't go on forever. 

"I'm hopeful that it will carry on as a pet store, would love it to carry on as such. Orla and I don't have any children, so don't have anyone to pass it on to.

"However, it could be converted into something else".

Terry also picks up shopping for elderly customers in the area and has been amazed by acts of kindness from some.

He explained: "One customer passed away a couple of years ago now, lovely fella, had known him and his wife as customers.

"He was lonely, had lost his wife and was getting frailer and frailer. He still had a cat, so I used to drop off bits and pieces - oranges, milk etc. Would go and have a chat with him. 

"He sadly passed away and very kindly left me a gift in his will. I was very touched by that. I was genuinely just spending time with and appreciated his custom and he left me a generous donation."

On the shop's legacy, Terry added: "I'd like to be remembered as somebody who served the community as best as they could and tried to give the public value for money and what they wanted."