Shields women set up doggy day-care venture

Ann Wright, rear left, rear centre, Allison Cowan of Tedco Business Support and front centre, Lynne Cook.
Ann Wright, rear left, rear centre, Allison Cowan of Tedco Business Support and front centre, Lynne Cook.

A new venture dedicated to man’s best friend has been launched by sisters-in-law in South Tyneside.

Lynne Cook and Ann Wright have joined forces to open Whistlestop in Westoe Crown Village, South Shields.

They have a real passion for what they do.

Allison Cowan

The pair have been supported in their venture by South Tyneside-based start-up support agency TEDCO and a £16,000 loan from Virgin StartUp.

The new business offers a bespoke canine experience combining dog grooming with day care.

There is also plans to install a hydrotherapy facility to provide general healthcare to support physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment programmes following an operation.

Mrs Cook said: “Ann and I are both dog lovers and whilst there were a number of grooming outlets in the area, we were frustrated at the limited availability of dedicated facilities such as day care and health and wellbeing treatments in the immediate locality.

“Recognising that there must be many more dog owners in a similar position who faced long journeys outside the region to access such services, we spotted a gap in the market for a dedicated dog care business and set about making Wistlestop a commercial reality.”

The sisters-in-law, both from South Tyneside, were supported by TEDCO’s Allison Cowan.

Mrs Wright said: “Allison provided very valuable support every step of the way; not only did she offer the benefit of her knowledge and expertise throughout the whole process, she ensured that our business loan application was robust and well considered to stand the best chance of success.

“Starting your own business can be a long journey with many obstacles to overcome and decisions to make along the way – Allison kept us focussed and motivated and was always available to offer an objective opinion and give us the confidence we needed to push forward.”

The pair are already looking ahead to the future and plan to install a state-of-the-art hydro treadmill and work in partnership with local veterinary practices to provide specialist treatments which clients currently have to travel outside the region to access.

Allison Cowan, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support, said: “Lynne and Ann have come a long way since starting their dream of running their own business and the early days of dog grooming in Lynne’s conservatory at home. They have a real passion for what they do and this, combined with the strong commercial viability of their enterprise, will see them grow and develop Wisslestop into a successful business.”

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To contact Whistle Stop, call 0191 454 8840