Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a new weekly feature – online every Thursday – which highlights lesser known businesses that generally go under the radar. Here we highlight a new business HENPORIUM in Slaithwaite
Mum-of-one Katy Phillips turned her passion into a business when she was made redundant last year.
And her passion – she actually describes it as an “addiction” – is an unusual one. She just loves chickens!
This time last year Katy was put under consultation for redundancy at her job with the RSPCA and with her son Tommy aged just two at the time she needed to find something else which would fit around family life.
Katy, who lives with husband Matthew in Crimble, said: “I have always kept animals but in 2017 I developed a love for chickens – in fact I’d go so far as to say an addiction!
“Around the time I was put under consultation I saw a post on a local Facebook page, someone asking where to get treatment for red mite for chickens.
“All of the suggestions were for places that were a fair distance away. I was also aware that during the first lockdown a lot of people had started keeping chickens so I started a local group ‘Colne Valley Chookers’ to see just how many people there were.
“Within 36 hours the group had around 76 members. It was then that I realised I wanted to open a poultry supply shop.”
That was the start of Henporium, now based at Upper Mills in Slaithwaite. But that was only the start of the journey.
Katy added: “To begin with I didn’t have any money so I applied for a business start-up loan. Pretty much on the day I found out I was definitely being made redundant the loan was also agreed.
“I’d already found premises at Upper Mills and felt it was ideal being surrounded by some fantastic other businesses such as Dragonfly Products, The Handmade Bakery and Empire Brewery. It felt like it was up and coming!”
The premises had been a plumber’s storage unit previously and after a lot of hard graft Henporium opened its doors on November 15, during the second lockdown.
Pretty soon it became clear that one woman couldn’t survive on chickens alone (sorry) and Henporium quickly evolved into a pet shop catering for most animals apart from dogs and horses which are well catered for elsewhere.
There’s also a range of greetings cards and gifts – many chicken-related, of course!
Four months on and the business is now doing “cluck and collect” though selling pet food means the shop hasn’t had to close under lockdown restrictions.
Looking back, Katy said: “It’s been a really hard slog, applying for money in the first lockdown, opening in the second and then trying to make a fist of it in the third. It’s been hard going but I’m loving it.
“I’ve had so much local support it’s fantastic and I’m lucky to be selling things that mean I can stay open.”
For more information go to www.thehenporium.co.uk