Jeff and Shannon Severts opened Simply Pets on April 1, 2006. This wouldn’t be their first time managing a pet business though. Jeff's family has been in the retail pet trade since the 1980s, and Shannon became part of the family over 20 years ago. Both have been active pet owners their whole lives!
“When we opened in 2006, we did so as a general pet store. Over the years, we shrunk the dog and cat portion of our business, and focused on the more exotic side. Specializing in what our competition put the least emphasis in. We grew mostly in the fish department, but we eventually expanded to reptiles, birds, and small animals. In 2013, we doubled the size of our location to 5,000 square feet. The first year after that was tough, but the second year has been better. We are now meeting our target goals, and working to grow further.”
“We are now marketing ourselves as an exotic pet store, and only carry a few treats and basic necessities for the dogs and cats our customers have. Our biggest market is to the fish side of the store, both fresh and marine, but our reptile department has also grown and is now our second biggest category! We find that many of our reptile customers come to us for the bigger selection of products we carry, and especially for the extra knowledge we can provide that they cannot usually find at the national chain stores. We keep many reptiles as pets; we even have three adult tortoises loose on the sales floor! In the back of the store, we have a small breeding room with over 50 snakes. The snakes aren’t the most common ones either; we have Royal Diadem Ratsnakes, Baron's Racers, Stillwater Bullsnakes, Licorice Ratsnakes, and a few others that you don't always see.”
“We have formed partnerships with several of our key vendors, and are proud to count Zoo Med in that circle. We use many of Zoo Med's products in our store, and for our private collection. Sales wise, Zoo Med is in our top three. Pretty impressive when you consider the other two vendors are actually groups of vendors.”
“Moving forward, we plan to focus our attention on aquatics and reptiles. These are the areas we are most passionate about, and we see the most potential for both growing our business, and helping consumers better understand these animals and their care.”