As Lesley and Barry Lavin celebrate 20 years of running their franchise, stand-out memories reveal that teamwork and tenacity have been key to their long-lasting success
OSCAR Pet Foods Cheadle Hulme has fulfilled its goal of giving them the flexibility to manage much-needed family commitments with a rewarding business opportunity centred around pets.
Looking back over two decades, Barry and Lesley recall just how far they have come: “The first flushes of excitement and enthusiasm at owning our own business stick out as a memory. We went everywhere! Rushing up to dog walkers in the park and friends in the street: ‘Have you heard of OSCAR Pet Foods?’ ‘Do you own a pet?’ ‘Can we help?!’ To be fair, people were really lovely to us.
“We were really green in those days! I’m pleased to say that as the business began to grow, so did our professionalism! The same can be said for the company, too. In 20 years, OSCAR has grown not only in size but also in professionalism and support for us as franchisees. It’s a real partnership.
“We’ve also had our luck. About two or three years in, our neighbouring franchise sold on to us and as a result, we gained and extended our customer base. Teamwork with fellow franchisees in neighbouring territories has always been an important part of the journey and we’ve forged great bonds along the way – with the head office support confirming the strength of the network.”
Alongside the couple’s natural ability to embrace opportunity lies their wisdom in understanding that to get the “yeses” you’ve got to take the “nos”.
Barry says: “Lesley is firmly in the driving seat these days and I’m just support crew to help load and fetch things from A to B! All credit to her. She’s stuck at it and all her hard work and tenacity has put the franchise where it is today – she has made a great success of it!”
Previously a Midwifery Sister, Lesley’s life has always revolved around caring for others and her genuine desire to help people, combined with skilled communication, has brought its own rewards to their franchise and its surrounding community; creating a special service that loving pet owners have come to rely upon.
Lesley explains: “Life is full of ups and downs. People sometimes change their minds, pets die, or circumstances change, but if you take the nos, without getting disheartened, the yeses will come!
“I love my chats with Richard, (managing director) who shares little gems of information about the products – he won’t budge on quality and that’s what gives me such confidence in the brand. I know my customers want the best for their pets and I know that that’s what OSCAR provides. We won’t and don’t sell our customers anything they don’t need because honesty and integrity in what we do are absolutely key.”