AN INDEPENDENT shop has opened on the high street amid the pandemic.

Paws & Claws on Worcester Road in Malvern Link is owned by Sarah and Peter Hawkins and managed by Sarah and the shop is their first high street retail business venture.

Sarah said: “I know it’s a brave move starting this up during the pandemic but animals are my passion - we have four dogs at home - and this is my dream.

“There’s not much footfall at the moment as people are staying at home as much as they can during the pandemic, but the customers who have been in are friendly and I’m sure that will change in the near future.

“What we didn’t think about the difficulties caused by Brexit and the pandemic to get pet supplies for the shop.”

For the last seven years, Sarah ran the cafeteria in Victoria Park, which at the start of the first lockdown had to close.

During lockdown the lease on the cafeteria expired and was unable to reopen, as the town council, who are the landlords for the cafeteria building, were unable to commit to renewing the lease for longer than 12 months.

Cllr Neil Morton, mayor of Malvern, who attended the opening of the shop, said: “I’m delighted to see another independent shop opening in Malvern Link and wish Sarah and Pete every success in their new venture.

“We’ve also had a number of shops moving into the old Brays building and all this shows that business owners have confidence in Malvern and the surrounding area as a place to set up and do well in.

“Its been hard for businesses deemed ‘non essential’ who can’t reopen such as hair dressers and salons and I hope the Government ends lockdown at the earliest opportunity in which it is safe to do so, then all owners can return to the ‘new normal’.”

Paws & Claws stocks a range of pet products and four-legged friends are welcome as long as they are on a lead.