John and his wife Jen­nifer are a local couple who recently bought a store on North Howell St. in downtown Hillsdale. They are opening a store called Nature’s Call Pet Shop.


Why are you inter­ested in starting a pet shop?

 Being a hob­byist for thirty years, since I was a boy, I’ve always thought that Hillsdale needed a pet store. People need to be able to get what they want without driving far out of town. An Internet sale for one or two fish is just not cost effective. The town is big enough to have a pet store, and it’s not quite worth it to spend money on gas to go out of town.


What would you say is the most important piece of infor­mation people should know when taking care of pets?

 I’d say the biggest, most important aspect of keeping tropical fish, which is what we’re focused on, is the nitrogen cycle. The failure could be an early one in the hobby. Our key point is offering infor­mation. We’ll let our cus­tomers know about the dangers of an uncycled tank and how to make sure the cycle is estab­lished before putting fish in.


What is your vision for the shop?

 We want to cater to what people want to have. We’ll have bedding, food, fish, lizards, amphibians and snakes, ham­sters, and gerbils. We won’t have puppies right away, but we’d like to work with the Humane Society and help them out. We’re still looking into that. There’s also a local woman who has a rescue for dogs, and we’d like to help her out with that as well. Mainly we just want to educate people on how to take care of their pets. Trying to make sure they know how to do this is our main pri­ority. Too many places sell you a pet but don’t tell you how to take care of it. Then you come back, and they take more of your money. We want other people to know, and if we don’t know, we’ll find out.


‑Com­piled by Amanda Tindall

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Amanda Tindall
Amanda Tindall is the features editor of the Collegian. From northeastern Nebraska, she hopes to move back to the east coast after graduation in 2016. She has worked at the Washington Post Express and the Toledo Free Press, and her favorite form of writing is long-form features and magazine pieces. Email: