Major (Retd) Russ Darlington has set up Wagging Tail in Northallerton after a 40-year career in the Army. The business, which started trading in January, was recently officially opened by Rishi Sunak MP.
Russ runs the business with his wife Elli, daughter Kirsty and their “product taste testers” black Labradors Bali and Tillie. Russ spent 40 years in the Royal Signals and decided to do something completely different on retirement from the Army and the move to ‘Civvy Street’.
Assisted by the Army’s resettlement programme and a Government Start-up Loan obtained through The Royal British Legion and X-Forces Enterprise, Russ set up Wagging Tail Raw Dog Food Ltd after identifying a market opportunity in his local area.
A firm believer in the health benefits for dogs of raw, additive-free, unprocessed food, Russ has established the business in a spacious industrial unit on the Omega Industrial Village, just off Darlington Road, Northallerton. The shop is packed with freezers stocking a wide range of raw dog food, bones and fish products in some cases supplemented with vegetables and superfoods like, spirulina, kale, salmon oil to mention but a few. The range – which caters for cats as well as dogs – is sourced from 12 different British suppliers, a number of them local to North Yorkshire and County Durham.
Russ said: “As my Army career came to an end my final posting was at Catterick and I was looking for a new horizon. With two dogs I was having to travel out of the area to source the raw food I wanted to feed my dogs and that was the inspiration for Wagging Tail. The Army resettlement programme was excellent in helping me with training, advice and practical mentoring support and we are looking to grow the business as the country emerges from pandemic restrictions. “
“Our unit is spacious and lent itself to being easily made Covid-secure with a one-way system for customers,” he added
Mr Sunak praised Mr Darlington and his family for launching their new business during a difficult time for the economy.
He said: “Mr Darlington and his family deserve great credit for launching their business at this moment. The shop is great, they have a very clear business plan and I look forward to seeing that plan come to fruition as the economy recovers.”
XFE Founder & CEO, Ren Kapur MBE, added: “It’s been a fantastic week easing out of lockdown, the National Insurance Contribution holiday came into force which of course Rishi has spoken about, and this wonderful news is the cherry on top of Rishi going out to see one of our beneficiaries; it’s great to see the chancellor is backing small business, X-Forces Enterprise and what its community represents.”
Visit Wagging Tail online.