Father and daughter open an exotic pet store

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Since 1994, Tim Rose has dreamed of offering the public high and rarely seen reptiles.

Now that dream has come true.

The Columbus man and his daughter, Scarlet Rose, 26, are co-owners of Scarlet’s Primitive Pets.

The pet store is located at 300 N. Chestnut St. in the Vehslage building in downtown Seymour. Visitors must enter from the Chestnut Street side of the building.

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“For our Facebook followers, the VIP grand opening of our exotic pet store is tonight from 5 to 9 pm,” said Tim. “Our Facebook friends are invited to this exclusive VIP event for a first look, and there will be specials all night long.”

It’s not too late to become a pet store enthusiast. Just visit facebook.com/scarletpets and hit the “Like” button.

The grand opening to the public is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays.

Regular store hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

On the wall of Scarlet’s Primitive Pets hangs a framed 1994 newspaper article with a photo of Scarlet’s mother, Alexis Rose.

In the article, Alexis said she had become a fan of lizards, including iguanas, about three years earlier. Tim had bought his two lizards for a Valentine’s Day gift before their wedding.

It was their hope to someday open a reptile pet store that would be named after Scarlet, who was 3 months old at the time. Alexis had said that they wanted the name of their future store to be Scarlet’s Primitive Pets.

It was during this same year that Tim, who was in his twenties, started selling reptiles and amphibians, as he had been interested in them from a young age.

Around 1995, he embarked on breeding projects. He successfully bred Chinese water dragons before eventually moving on to other lizards, snakes, frogs, and other amphibians.

“Now Scarlet has her own breeding plans and has had many articles written about her in her first year in reptile publications on being the youngest member of the Pittsburgh Herpetology Society and hold large lizards at exotic animal shows, ”said Tim.

The Rose family moved to Columbus 20 years ago to work in the mining industry and make a fresh start in the heart of the country, he said.

“Growing up in Pennsylvania was culture shock, seeing corn and bean fields miles and miles long compared to the mountains we left behind,” he said. “As she got older, Scarlet signed up for 4-H and had a passion for animals.”

Scarlet has received several awards in 4-H, including a Grand Champion. After high school, she went to the Vet Tech Institute in Indianapolis.

“Scarlet and I started talking about the old stories of opening a pet store,” Tim said. “I would describe what stores often looked like in the basements of well-established businesses, such as traditional pet stores and comic book stores.”

They attended exotic animal shows in Indianapolis, Clarksville, and Cincinnati to see how things had changed.

“It didn’t take long before we were selling at these shows, selling reptiles and amphibians to the public,” Tim said. “What sets us apart from other sellers is the condition of our animals. Anyone could tell that ours were well cared for and the welfare of the animals came first.”

The idea never left their minds about opening an exotic pet store. Father and daughter viewed Columbus as a location, but with other solidly established pet stores, it would be difficult to start a startup.

“We chose the Seymour location due to the lack of pet stores in the area relative to population levels,” said Tim. “The growing interest in being part of the downtown rejuvenation also played a big role in our decision.”

This year, they set their sights on Seymour with the idea of ​​opening a former exotic family pet store, recreating the pet shops of the 1980s.

“This style of store would be nicer than chain stores, focusing on pets such as lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, scorpions, newts and more,” said Tim.

He said people live in small apartments and houses, so these pets would be a good fit for some people, compared to traditional dogs and cats who need space to walk around and play.

Tim said the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in social distancing of people, is giving the hobby a real boost.

“There is a business plan in there, and the revenue generated from the successful sale at exhibitions is what helped us start this store,” he said. “We saved for two or three years because, among other things, there is the cost of inventory and the cost of food.”

He said when everything is tied together, they always have to go to the exhibits as a complement to support the store.

“We have over 1,000 Facebook followers and we are targeting via Facebook ads in a geographic area that is accessible by car to our store,” he said.

Scarlet said the categories of pets sold in the store can be categorized as exotic reptiles, amphibians, scorpions, tarantulas, and things you don’t normally see. There is a Baby American Alligator in the shop, and they will be buying Baby Bearded Dragons as well.

“We have axolotls, which are a type of salamander, and these all come from a lake in Mexico and are almost extinct in the wild,” she said. “But they’re very popular in captivity because they’re so easy to care for. For and one of my favorite beginner pets.”

Scarlet said axolotls are a lot of fun, and she thinks they’re adorable.

“Anyone who comes in, even if you are a beginner, we’ll help you figure out everything you need to know,” she said. “There is an area in the store with chairs and a television, where educational videos will be available to watch for those who want to learn more about pets.”

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What: Grand opening

When: from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday

Where: Scarlet’s Primitive Pets, 300 N. Chestnut St., Seymour (use the Chestnut Street entrance of the Vehslage building)

Regular hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Information: 812-390-9768 or facebook.com/scarletpets

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