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Barking mad idea is terrier-iffic success

Peter Starbuck with dogs Judy and Jake, at Best Friends, Marsh Mill, Thornton.

Peter Starbuck with dogs Judy and Jake, at Best Friends, Marsh Mill, Thornton.

They say a man’s best friend is his dog and one Blackpool businessman has proved that with his gr-hound-breaking hampers and gift shop businsess.

Peter Starbuck founded Woof Woof Hampers two years ago making up gift hampers for dog-lovers to give to their pets and friends.

The idea might sound a little barking mad, but his hampers have featured on TV and resulted in him winning a small business award this week from Dragons’ Den retail ace Theo Paphitis.

Peter came up with the hampers idea one day two years ago while sorting out the food for his cairn terriers, Jake, eight, and Judy, four.

He said: “I was making them some dinner in the kitchen and I thought initially about a business making quality treats and food, but then I realised no-one online was doing quality gift hampers for dogs.

“I don’t believe in dressing them up and all of that, they are dogs after all, but I thought they would love things such as a box of really nice treats, toys they can play with.

“It is a niche market that does really well at certain times of the year. I get orders from all over the country and from as far away as Australia and the USA.

Jake and Judy help out too. All the emails sent out are sent by my PA Judy and Jake road tests all the hampers.

“I was asked to take a hamper down to the This Morning Programme which was lovely and I have had letters from Camilla Parker Bowles and from Kate Middleton who must have looked at my website.

“The hamper was one of my car boot hampers. It has everything you need for when you are out walking the dogs, towels, a torch, toys such as balls and a frisbee.

“I have just come back from Birmingham to meet Theo Paphitis, he runs a Small Business Sunday Tweets competition and my company was named in that.

“So many people asked me if I did human hampers too, because the presentation of the dog’s ones was so good. So when the chance came to open a human gift shop here in Thornton I grabbed it.

“It is called Best Friends and it opened on November 1 in Marsh Mill Village. I am really pleased with the feedback with people saying ‘nothing like this in the area and such fabulous gifts’.

“We have all sorts of things made locally by ladies that I know. We have cards, candles, jewellery and some brilliant Harris Tweed handbags.

“I try to make the displays as interesting as possible for example I have the jewellery on a dressing table. The shop is full of nooks and crannies to make it interesting.”

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