My Primrose Hill is regular Q&A feature of the magazine where we ask residents and those who work in Primrose Hill about the neighbourhood.
This month we were in conversation with Gail Levy, Owner of Primrose Hill Pets…
Q. What is your earliest memory of Primrose Hill?
A. I first started visiting Primrose Hill Park with my three dalmations 28 years ago.
Q. What is the best thing about Primrose Hill?
A. The area is surprisingly diverse which makes it stand out as being particularly friendly.
Q. What is the worst thing about Primrose Hill?
A. The gradual erosion of independent shops which diminishes choice on any High Street.
Q. What is your favourite place in Primrose Hill?
A. That would be my shop!
Q. What challenges face an independent trader in areas such as ours?
A. The trend for online shopping is a huge challenge. Competition on pricing is key, however a “click-add to basket” approach leaves customers missing out on the personal experience, product knowledge and bespoke advice that a visit to a shop provides. How can an online shop offer personal advice suited to the individual dog’s and cat’s needs and experience the world’s stongest catnip?
Q. What inspired you to open a Pet Shop in Primrose Hill?
A. It was 23 years ago and I wanted to open a business that dealt with pets rather than one that dealt in pets. Most establishments at that time were selling animals as a commodity which is now rightfully viewed as abhorrent. I wanted the shop to be a magnet for people who sought basic sensible advice and products that enhanced the lives of their pets.
Q. What are your views on puppy farming?
A. The term Puppy Farming is so misleading as it does not convey the horrors of this trade. Breeding bitches are kept in sheds, hardly seeing the light of day, having litter after litter until they are too old to breed and then either abandoned or put down. The puppies are weak, poorly reared, not socialised and sold onto anyone who will have them, which are often petshops, websites and adverts. It is an abhorrent practice and it is essential that anyone who wishes to purchase a puppy, whatever breed, or cross breed investigates where and how it has been bred. It is essential to go to a recognised breeder or rescue organisation. There is also a very unfortunate amount of underage puppies coming into the UK from Eastern Europe with false papers and severe health problems. Everyone who loves dogs should educate themselves and others about this unacceptable practice.
Q. If you were Mayoress of Primrose Hill for a day what changes would you enact?
A. I would ban the use of all mobile phones, computers, tablets and electronic equipment and see if we could survive.
Q . What are the strangest items of stock you have been offered to sell by suppliers?
A. Pyjamas for dogs, nail varnish for dogs and…..toilet seats for cats!
Q. If there were to be a film made about your life who would be in the starring role?
A. Without a doubt Meryl Streep – guaranteed box office success and I would look slim without dieting!
Primrose Hill Pets
132 Regents Park Road
020 7483 2023
Photo by Lars Christiansen.