The Amazon Reptile Center, home of bearded dragons, lizards, snakes, a python and more has survived the past couple of years via various adjustments to keep staff and creatures healthy and safe amid the COVID pandemic.
Located at 8851 Central Ave. in Montclair, the more than 20-year-old store seems to have come out of the worst – and should continue to thrive for the foreseeable future as the area’s go-to place to learn about and purchase reptilian pets.
The small store also sells turtles, amphibians, scorpions, tarantulas, and “feeders” such as rats, mice and crickets – for snakes and other creatures who live on live animals.
The store also offers visitors education in the care and nurturing of reptilian pets for first-time reptile owners and reptile-philes alike.
Michael Enyeart, who has owned the reptile store since 1999, said the store has had ups and downs, particularly recently.
“Some of the customers during the pandemic weren’t so understanding with how we were handling things, but we did the best we could,” Enyeart said.
Jasmine Tomita, who has been employed at the reptile shop for a year, and was previously a volunteer there, said while she loves her job, pandemic adjustments were challenging. To protect everyone, the store limited browsing and visiting with creatures.
“We had to do service at the front door,” Tomita said. “We are happy to be back open. It is much more fun when people get to hang out in person. And business is booming (these days) with regular customers who come once or twice a week.”
Robert Vasquez, a recent customer, said coming to the Amazon Reptile Center has helped him understand a lot more about his pet lizard at home.
“Getting a lizard, or any pet in general is difficult,” Vasquez said. “But I have gotten great advice from this store about how to care for my lizard, what to feed it, how many times to feed it, and even picking out habitats for him. He has been super happy since I ask many questions whenever I come.”
Another recent customer, Sophia Ramos, said the reptile shop is more than a store to her.
“This store has helped me grow closer to my son,” Ramos said. “I have gotten to buy things for my son and his pet turtle, and we have grown closer together because we both enjoy taking care of the turtle. It is little things like this that make this little shop even better.”
For more information visit amazonreptile.com.
Isabel Amezquita can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.