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Tired pooches can “Paws and Chill” thanks to new doggy ice cream van

 Paws and Chill wide stall shot

THIRSTY four-legged friends will be able to cool down this summer with frozen yoghurt and other treats thanks to a new business running at Calke Abbey.

Paws and Chill is the brainchild of Angela Salt who came up with the idea after being made redundant last summer.

Angela, 52, said: “It was a hot day last year when I came up with the idea for an ice cream van for dogs.

“I know how important it is to keep dogs healthy and hydrated whilst they are out and the idea grew from there. I didn’t have any previous experience of running a business, but had a small amount of knowledge about self-employment from working at Job Centres in Burton and Lichfield.

“What I did have was 30 years of customer service, what I thought was a great idea and a real love for dogs!”

Her well-stocked van boasts Frozzy’s frozen yoghurt for dogs, poochy popcorn, a variety of high quality treats and food as well as handmade collars and leads.

The stock was selected after asking dog owners the types of items they would like to see as well as  Angela, and her daughter Morgan’s, own experiences as keen dog owners themselves.

Paws and Chill hat

Angela, who runs the business from her home in Stanton Road, Stapenhill, said: “The frozen yoghurt was something I had seen a little while before and after coming up with the idea for a doggy ice cream van I thought it would be a perfect product!

“It has been a massive hit with the dogs over the past few weeks – especially with the warm weather we have been having.”

Angela currently has a contract to work from Calke Abbey and has booked in events at the Ashby Show and Bradgate Park summer fair later in the year. Initially she approached East Staffordshire Borough Council to potentially work from their parks and after finding regulations an issue, she began approaching private landowners.

Angela said: “Calke Abbey was the first to be interested. I had explained in the email how the van would be smart, professional and fit in with the ethos of the park and grounds.

“The property manager invited me to an informal interview in February to have a look at the products and discuss terms, I was offered a contract with them to operate from the car park.”

Angela, who worked at Burton and Lichfield Jobcentres, as well as the Department for Social Security for more than 30 years, spent some of her redundancy money to help set up the business but was also helped by a Virgin StartUp loan of £8,000.

She said: “With the help of the loan I was able to buy a new van, have it professionally sign-written and fitted out to my specifications.

“I also bought stock, paid for advertising and, because of the need to have a professional image, have a logo designed that has been used on my matching uniform, printed leaflets and business cards.”

Paws and Chill stall

Along with costs her lack of business knowledge was also something that Angela was concerned about.

Helpfully the Virgin StartUp loan application includes a business plan. The completion of this is supported by a finance expert in the form of Andrew Hitchinson who works for Business Enterprise Support – the delivery partners for Virgin StartUp loans across the Midlands.

Angela said: “I found Andrew really helpful, supportive and enthusiastic. He was easy to talk to and explained everything really clearly.

“The support through writing the business plan was great, and his interest and attitude was really motivating.

“I would recommend anyone to use Virgin Start up if they were looking to start their own business.”

To find out more about Paws and Chill and where you can find the van for your walks visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Pawsandchill/