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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Animals Center: Quality Pet Products in Heliopolis
As household pets become more popular in Cairo, we've seen a number of quality pet shops sprout across the city. With a number of successful branches in the capital, we visited the most recently opened branch of Animals Center in Heliopolis. The bright red signage is easily visible – above Smiley's Grill – on Abd El Hameed Badawi Street, although the shop is accessed from an entrance on Ammar Ibn Yasser Street.
This branch is small, narrow and bright and is split into grouped-sections on either side. To the front of the store is an area with a vets table and a stock of prescription medicines; their on-site vet was also the shop assistant and from enlisting his help, it was clear that this is a guy who knows his stuff.
Interestingly, some of the prices were displayed in dollars and some were left un-priced; making for a less independent shopping experience. We noticed there was a very limited number of bowls and feeders, namely novelty, cat shaped bowls, double ceramic feeding bowls (30LE) and no-frills, stainless steel bowls complete with a matching metal frame.
Pet carriers come in simple designs and colours, with prices ranging from 130LE for smaller animals to 1300LE for bigger dog breeds. A charming, blue wooden dog house, suitable for the outdoors, was retailing at 1250LE. At the time of our visit, we only spotted one cushioned, medium-sized, polka dot dog bed.
Many of the items carried at Animals Center are from the reputable brand Trixie, including a large range of quality toys, shampoos and flea sprays, collars and leads. We purchased a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner for sensitive skin (55LE) and a cat ball which we were advised would also be suitable for small breed dogs (15LE). Unfortunately, we didn't feel that any of the dog balls were soft or small enough for a toy breed. The toy section was evenly shared amongst cat and dog toys, and could easily supply something for everyone.
Collars, leads and harnesses come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and materials. Jolly rubber cat collars with bells on were priced at 20LE whilst light and flimsy 'Dream Pet' harnesses (35LE-60LE) came in both pastel and dark colours with matching leads (35LE-60LE). There was also a wide range of leather accessories; smart leather collars and leads were available in all sizes whilst some monstrously heavy leather harnesses and choker chains were available for larger breeds. Having sold out of the smaller sizes, there were just two hefty XL retractable leads available for a whopping 400LE.
The food section was well stocked with premium brands such as Royal Canin, Brit and several items by the less well-known Meradog. The packets range from regular size all the way to a giant 18kg which is similarly reflected in the treats section; whilst there are a few small packets of Brit 'softies' treats (16.50LE), many of the other goodies don't look as appealing, and are sold in big tubs which may be a risky purchase if your dog is a fussy eater. Cat food is not as well-stocked, but has a definite presence nonetheless, along with cat litter, trays and scratching posts (100LE).
Animals Center prides itself on having a resident veterinary clinic, as well as a diverse range of quality, practical pet accessories. Although certain areas need a little more attention to bring the range up to par, we would gladly re-visit to stock up on essentials.
In Cairo’s shopping scene, it’s becoming more and more difficult to come across shops that offer clothes which combine both quality and affordability. It’s also becoming harder and harder to find ones that offer light summer apparel that doesn’t come in the predominant form of crop tops, which are sadly hard to sport in the capital for reasons we’re all aware of.
Vero Moda, located in the evergrowing Cairo Festival City Mall, seems to us a sort of needle in a haystack of endless clothes stores, with its practical combination of pieces that boasted good quality yet came with more or less affordable price tags that wouldn’t make you gasp in pure shock at their sight.
The shop is rather large and rests side by side to its men’s brand, ‘Jack Jones’. With a bright colour scheme of white and beige, contrasted by a little black, the store’s overall design does not distract shoppers from the vibrant pieces on immaculate display.
Our eyes immediately fell on a display of colourful jeggings laid neatly in the middle of the store. Diverting the more smart casual and semi-formal attire section, we spotted a flowy, black, sleeveless chiffon top with delicate silver beading on the neckline (365LE) that we instantly fell in love with. The powder pink, lace-adorned, mini dress (465LE) that our eyes fell upon next, however, was the ultimate showstopper in that section.
Moving on to the ‘Only’, Vero Moda’s more youthful line, we spotted a flow-y maxi skirts (400LE), short-sleeved lace tops (159LE) as well as comfy t-shirts and loose cotton tops. A few generic skinny and straight-legged jeans could also be found, alongside a couple of maxi dresses and loose cardigans.
All along our visit, the sales personnel were always around to offer us assistance with finding a certain piece in our size and even giving us advice about which pieces suited us better, but when not called upon, allowed us to freely roam around the store and shop unperturbed.
All in all, we found Vero Moda to be quite the practical store to hit for some casual, as well as slightly formal attire that is effortlessly chic, simple and quite frankly, light on the wallet. With efficient staff and an overall laid back ambiance, the store offered us a smooth shopping experience.