Fin N Fur II is definitely a kid-friendly pet store.
This point was made obvious during the store's grand opening Friday. Young people filled the store, checking out the animals and having their faces painted at a special station in the corner. Supervised by adults, they stared at scorpions and held guinea pigs. Some of the braver ones handled snakes, while everyone seemed to want to pet the adorable Netherland Dwarf rabbits.
Also on sale were scorpions, tarantulas, geckos, lizards, turtles and even hermit crabs.
“We sell everything from the flying to the crawling,” said owner Kindi Wheeler with a laugh.
The store also carries birds, according to the other half of the ownership pair, Kindi's husband Paul Wheeler.
“I love birds,” he said, adding that the store carries lovebirds, Parakeets, Conures (a type of small parrot) and Cockatiels.
“One of the things we are most proud of is hand-feeding the birds that we sell, with the exception of the Parakeets,” he explained. “The Cockatiels and Conures are all hand-fed, they are used to people, they want to be on your shoulder. They want affection from you.”
Also available in abundance are fish. This makes sense, given the pair got their start with a backyard Koi pond business years ago.
“About 15 years ago, we had a pond business in our backyard,” Paul Wheeler said. “We sold lots of pond supplies and lots of Koi fish and we really enjoyed it.”
“It started with fish,” he said.
“We know fish, it's what we know best,” Kindi Wheeler added. “It is a passion for both of us."
When that business closed, they eventually decided to open Fin N Fur II.
“We always wanted to have a little fish store,” he said. The purchase of some fish tanks when the old Walmart closed led to an expanded vision and Fin N Fur II was born.
“It blossomed into this,” Paul Wheeler said. He added with a laugh that Kindi knows more about pets than he does.
“My wife is much more knowledgeable than I am. So I am nice to people and I ask her questions,” he said with a laugh.
“Growing up I always had pets,” Kindi Wheeler agreed. “My father would bring home raccoons! He taught us a lot when we were kids about all our animals.”
As luck would have it, customer Kelly Wilson walked up during this part of the conversation. Wilson said she purchased Koi pond supplies from the couple at their former business and was shopping Friday for water lilies for her pond.
She spoke enthusiastically about the pond, which she described as a oasis of peace and tranquility for her.
The store held a soft opening a couple of months back, and the owners have already gained a reputation for wanting to help customers be good, responsible pet owners. They walk potential pet owners through the process and make sure they are ready to take on the responsibility. They have even been known to discourage ownership of certain pets, if they feel the new animal would not fit in with the pre-existing household.
The Netherland Dwarf rabbits for example are completely house trainable. A free-roaming rabbit, however, is obviously a no-no in a house with a cat. Not all pets fit in with all families, Paul Wheeler said.
When the Wheelers set a family up with a pet, they make sure they are ready to go when they leave the store.
“We want them to have everything they need,” Paul Wheeler said.
“And be educated, making sure it’s going to fit in with your home and with your family,” Kindi Wheeler added. “If you don't have a cage, we will set that cage up for you. From the bedding to the food, before you leave, we will make sure you understand how to care for the pet.”
One thing you won't find at Fin N Fur II is cats and dogs. “We don't do anything dog and cat,” said Kindi Wheeler. “We specialize more in exotic pets.”
Fin N Fur II is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Saturday the store closes at 5 p.m. Check the store for new pets Wednesdays.