Port's Road to Recovery | Animals at the front of minds, says Williams Pet Produce owners

Continuing the Port's Road to Recovery series, this week the Examiner looks at how COVID-19 has impacted the animal services in Port Stephens. The Port's Road to Recovery series aims to paint a picture of individual industries and social issues, how they have been impacted and what the future looks like for them - as told by those on the ground.

BUSY: Williams Pet Produce owner Teresa Williams with Bridgette the dog, Yodie the cat, Aussie the bird and Claire the pup.

BUSY: Williams Pet Produce owner Teresa Williams with Bridgette the dog, Yodie the cat, Aussie the bird and Claire the pup.

The coronavirus lockdown earlier in the year may have been a stressful and uncertain time but for many it also provided an opportunity for people to slow down, spend more time with their family and pets, begin projects that had been waiting in the wings as well as the motivation to get back to basics and learn how to be more self sufficient.

If anyone saw this shift in thinking it was Teresa and Paul Williams, owners of Williams Pet Produce, who became busier than ever during the lockdown.

"I think a lot of people used the time to buy pets or were spending more time with their pets, making them think about what they were feeding them, keeping them entertained," Mrs Williams said.

"There may have been a bit of panic buying at the beginning of the lockdown. We had lots of people coming in to buy feed for their animals, maybe thinking they couldn't get any, but we had very few problems with stock. There were some worries about the borders closing but everything has worked out.

"We also had a lot of people coming to us to buy chooks.

"With more people working from home, and with what was happening around them, I think a lot of people had time to plant gardens and wanted to become more sustainable or self-sufficient."

But customers weren't just stopping by the Medowie Road store for feed for their animals.

It was also for the easy social interaction they have with the Williams'.

Customers would stop by for coffee and a chat, which is easy to do on the large property the two-year-old business is located on.

"We've seen lots of new customers, even people from Gloucester and Bulahdelah who drop in for a coffee," Mrs Williams said. "We like spending time with our customers to help them with what they need. If we don't have it, we'll make some calls to get it."

Williams Pet Produce caters for all animals - from domestic to farm.

The car park has plenty of room for a trailer to turn around in, and the Williams' will even help carry purchases to a customer's vehicle.