Startups

Published: October 9, 2020 | Updated: October 9, 2020

Animal magic! Couple invest £600k and create ten jobs with new independent vet surgery

Chris and Sam Devlin, Directors of Vetsmiths, with their Border Terrier, Kipster. Picture: Ian Weldon.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Ten jobs are to be created with the opening of a new independent veterinary surgery in Wimborne next month.

Husband and wife team Chris and Sam Devlin are sinking £600,000 into the new venture called Vetsmiths.

A complete refurbishment and fit-out is underway at the surgery’s new home in West Borough, next to Wetherspoon’s The Man in the Wall pub.

It will only deal with small animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits.

Chris, 49, qualified as a veterinary surgeon at Bristol University in 1994.

He was a former joint owner of Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.

Hillside was sold to VetPartners, which has more than 400 sites in the UK, two years ago.

Sam, 52, has 14 years’ PR and marketing experience within the veterinary profession, joining Chris and his then business partner at Hillside in 2004.

She was responsible for strategic marketing, advertising, content writing, public relations, campaigns, special events and social media for the business.

Both Chris and Sam are directors of Vetsmiths.

They’re funding the new surgery through a combination of their own funds from the sale of a previous business and a business loan with Lloyds Bank.

It’s hoped to increase the initial ten jobs year on year so that they total between 15 and 20 by 2025/26, depending on growth.

The premises of Vetsmiths were previously a GP surgery and then job centre.

The refurbishment and fit-out includes separate waiting areas for dogs and cats/rabbits as well as separate kennelling facilities.

Careful attention has been paid to provide the best kennels with no bars in sight.

The units are made using toughened glass, instead of stainless steel, which the couple say creates a warm and quiet environment to improve and speed recovery.

During his 17 years of business ownership, Chris developed a detailed understanding of the profitable running of a small business with a keen interest in management.

He also retained a high clinical workload and grew a large and loyal client base.

Chris has a special interest in rabbits with clients visiting from as far afield as Somerset. Picture: Ian Weldon.

Chris said: “We established Vetsmiths with our fantastic team to give our clients and their animals the best experience.

“We’ve lived in the area for many years and wanted a vet that looks after the pets and supports the families of our local community.”

Sam, who has also worked as a legal secretary, PA at MD level and community fundraiser for the British Red Cross, added: “We’re passionate about providing the best possible care not only for pets, but their owners too.

“It’s all about building those special relationships throughout the lifetime of your pet.

“Being independent is the only way to meet the inevitably high standards that pet owners want.

“Our clients will see the same vet, making sure they get the right amount of time with them on each and every visit.”

Vetsmiths is at 14 West Borough, Wimborne, BH21 1NF.

Ample client parking will be available with disabled access to the rear. The entrance is opposite The Olive Branch.

To be one of the first to know the opening date of Vetsmiths, please go to www.vetsmiths.co.uk and register your interest.