When the economy started to sour and construction work was harder to come by, Jeff Bartlett opened a pet store with his wife, Amy.
“The economy was headed for the dump,” he said. “We figured Sunbury needed a pet store.”
That was four years ago and the business has acquired a regular following, he said.
“It’s kind of like a zoo,” he said. “People come in here and they want to check out what’s new.”
Tell us a little about your store.
It’s a mom-and-pop store. We have no employees. We’re in it for the animals. We’re not just trying to make a quick sale. We’re going to take care of you, whatever you buy. I want the animal to live.
Do you encourage people to do research before purchasing an exotic pet?
Absolutely. It’s a commitment. You’re looking at a 20-year commitment — at least. They need good food. You can’t just give them junk. They need healthy food.
How will Ohio’s new exotic pet law impact your business?
It won’t. We don’t sell anything that’s covered in the bill. The longest snake we sell gets 6 feet.
Do you breed any of the animals you sell?
We breed corn snakes, geckos and bearded dragons. We’re trying to breed birds and degus, a rodent out of Chile. It’s a relative of the guinea pig. It’s real social. It’s a fun pet.
What kind of fish do you sell?
We like to specialize in oddball stuff. We have bichirs, an eel-like fish.
Photos by Alysia Burton