I agree with ARisk 100%. People are FINALLY aware of what the traditional pet stores that we used to see in malls are all about and MOST people are aware that they are about $$ and puppy mills, NOT about pets. (I hope that isn`t the route you are taking.) In fact, I`d be curious to see a study about how many of these old style pet stores are still in operation. I`ve been preaching the evils of these chain stores since I first heard about puppy mills in 5th grade!
Where do you plan on opening the store?
I live on the northside of Indianapolis, IN and the most popular pet store is very unique in their vision and beliefs. They NEVER sell cats or dogs, but instead have adoption days with the local shelters, as ARisk mentioned. They have a nice assortment of fish. They carry a nice range of reptiles and amphibians, many of them very unique. UNIQUE but not rare or endangered.
They also work with the local exotic pet rescue farm and will "showcase" some of the exotics over the weekends to educate customers or just to bring people through the doors on weekends. Often times I`ve walked in to buy dog food only to find a monkey or a King Cobra on the shoulder of the owner.
The owners make it their mission that for every single pet they sell, the new owner is thoroughly educated on how to care for it. One of the two owners is always there (they are brothers) and one told me once that they will ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to sell any of the animals to a customer if they get the impression they are either not taking the responsibility seriously or feel that the pet will not be well cared for. Obviously they are taking a huge risk of p#$ing someone off here, but they sleep better at night! The best part is that people like me that tend to be very hard core when it comes to animal rights, etc. KNOW that this store is unique in its philosophy, but the "average" pet owner who just wants a good pet and isn`t particularly concerned about the politics and issues behind it still shop the store and have no idea that they are really any different than some of the other pet stores. (Therefore, they don`t feel intimidated or think they are walking into a PETA sponsored store
)The owners are always open for talking about their ideas and beliefs but wouldn`t push them on most people that walk through the doors.
BRiX--a Zionsville Bistro