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