A couple who spent the last 25 years caring for other people’s pets are looking for the next generation of animal lovers to continue their work.
Karen and Neil Sidebottom started Noah’s Ark cattery and kennels in 1992 but their love for animals goes back much further.
“We used to have friends who came to visit us when we first moved here, before we opened the kennels,” said Karen.
“One time they came down and I was hand-rearing a litter of rabbits and he said ‘One day I expect to come here and see a great big boat in the garden because you’re just like Noah’s Ark’. We were always taking animals in and that is where the name came from.
“Another time I had a litter of kittens which had been found under the wheel of wagon – their eyes weren’t even open yet.
“If the wagon driver hadn’t seen them they would have been crushed but instead they ended up with me.”
Since their early days of taking in orphans, Karen and Neil have turned Noah’s Ark into a hugely successful kennels and cattery.
However, their initial plans weren’t quite so ambitious.
“I have always had dogs and I used to show them so we had quite a lot of dogs,” said Karen.
“Originally, we just wanted to move to a house that was quiet and didn’t have any neighbours and had room for them.
“We had friends that had boarding kennels and when they went on holiday we looked after theirs so we knew what was involved. Instead of going out to work I decided to just do it as a business.”
Since then, they have completely renovated the house, replaced the old kennels, built a cattery and taken in every type of pet – from dogs and cats to ferrets and birds. Their newest customer is a young rat named Grace.
Now, however, it is time to retire and they are selling Noah’s Ark via business agent Ernest Wilson.
“Karen and Neil started the business from nothing and have enjoyed their time there but now they are ready to retire,” said Leanne Shepherd, from Ernest Wilson, which has a good record selling kennels and catteries.
“They have a real passion for animals and would love to find new owners with the same passion.
“Noah’s Ark has a great reputation in Barnsley so would make a fantastic investment for the right animal lover with a keen eye for business.”
For Karen, who volunteered with the RSPCA as a teenager, it is vitally important that the new owners are as passionate about animals as she is – and maintain the high standards of care Noah’s Ark has become known for.
“I’d had my dogs in kennels from time to time and sometimes when I’d gone and picked them up I was upset because they didn’t look like they had been well looked after.
“I have always said it and I always will: when you are looking after people’s pets you should look after them as much like your own as you can.
“If you can’t do that you shouldn’t be doing it.
“We have got customers who are on their second or third pet who are still boarding with us. It speaks for itself when you have got people coming back.”
Noah's Ark in Brierley Road, Shafton, Barnsley is a highly profitable cattery and kennels. The site includes 32 kennels and 15 cat pens as well as a spacious three-bedroom home.
For more information on Noah’s Ark, or advice and support to buy or sell your business, visit www.ernest-wilson.co.uk
Ernest Wilson is the leading agent for businesses for sale in the UK, has been established since 1956 and has successfully concluded the sales of many thousands of businesses across the country.