Welcome - my name is Phil Stokes and I created Gala Wildlife through a love of all things wildlife related.
Gala Wildlife came to fruition in July 2009 after a rather long stint of employment as a Procurement Officer in a national police force. I was based in Manchester and, like so many people, I was commuting every day on a train between Nantwich and the city centre. Tired of commuting (and the rat-race) it was apparent I needed a change - but what to do?! It was going to be a leap of faith as I just knew I needed to go self-employed and do something that I was really interested in and passionate about but, would also provide a living wage.
As a lad, I'd always been interested in wildlife and would spend many hours walking fields and hedgerows watching birds and other wildlife going about their everyday business. Time, it seemed, would just stand still in the tranquillity of the moment, as I watched and wondered what each species was doing in its daily hustle and bustle. My parents were always worried what I would bring back after going on my 'adventures' as I would occasionally find an injured bird or something that required care and attention to bring it back to full health. Everything from young pigeons, ducks, magpies and crows, hedgehogs, rabbits, frogs etc. (and even cats and dogs!) have been either nursed back to health or given a home! Luckily my parents were understanding of me turning up unexpectedly with something new to look after - and even allowing a part of their garden being confiscated for a rather large aviary I built to rehabilitate sick birds in!
The love of nature is still with me as strong as ever, albeit with less time on my hands to wonder the local fields and hills.
So I decided that my passion for nature should be focused on creating a business that would help local wildlife to sustain itself, but also enable other people to enjoy watching and supporting their local wildlife population in the comfort of their own gardens. So Gala Wildlife was born.
Initially, we wanted a business that solely focused on our local community of Nantwich - but setting up a retail outlet with limited funds was to prove problematic when the reality of premises, business rates and rental agreements etc. meant a rather large commitment! Much head scratching ensued as I search for suitable premises and a much more 'wallet-friendly' method of setting up a small family business.
However, the answer was staring us in the face all the time! Our Nantwich Market was everything we could conceive of and answered our needs perfectly - local, established, guaranteed footfall and literally on our own doorstep - it required very little investment and no 5-year premises contract to sign. Perfect! A quick conversation with the manager confirmed he would be happy for us to trade from the outdoor market (which suited us fine as we much prefer to be outdoors than be cooped up indoors). We started off using a small conventional stall provided by the market, then we purchased our own larger stall some months after; however, for ease of set-up and erecting we purchased a 4.5m gazebo, and then quickly outgrew that and we're currently using a 6m gazebo - it's just about big enough!
The next logical step was an online presence so customers who couldn't come and see us at Nantwich Market could place orders via a convenient website. A huge learning curve followed as I had no idea how to build a website - let alone a fully functional eCommerce one! I'm now on my second Gala Wildlife website and feel I've got the fundamentals grasped.
Uniquely, we offer a free local delivery service (over £10.00) for Nantwich and the surrounding areas. This initially came about because we noticed some of our elderly customers were struggling with the weights, but they wanted to purchase larger quantities of bird food to feed their garden birds (plus each increment in size = better value, too).
To-date; my son Jason has now become part of the business by way of a partnership and has brought in much-needed help, energy and ideas for the future. He's keen, attentive to minute details of the business and loves what he's doing - supporting our local wildlife community and helping others to enjoy it, too. I love his 'no compromise on quality' attitude whilst ensuring that our customers always get a great deal on their purchase. Quality and value are his main objective.
We currently offer 6 seed mixes, 5 straight foods and a selection of suet and fat treats for your feathered friends. Our intention is to expand the range of bird seed mixes and, to include a seasonal variant that is suitable for feeding via a table, ground or a bird feeder.
And for the future?
Well, we'll most definitely be looking to go national.
But we'll always remain loyal to our local customers and their local wildlife community - it's where our hearts lie.
Phil and Jason Gala Wildlife
PLEASE NOTE We deliver to Nantwich Town and the local surrounding areas ONLY. Sorry, as yet we do not supply nationwide.
Locate Us - Nantwich Market, Market Street, Nantwich, Cheshire.