Pet cares

The local pet store strives to bring in a new variety of pets

For animal lovers across the community, there is a new store offering a variety of pets.

Under the Sea sells a variety of fish – freshwater and saltwater – as well as birds, rodents and reptiles, as well as pet food and supplies.

The owner of the new local store — located at 1719 Guadalupe St. Suite #3 — says opening hasn’t been easy due to numerous permits and various pet requirements. But they say they hope to bring a new type of business to the Laredo area, reducing their trips to places outside the city.

“Fifteen years ago, when I found myself with my husband, he had a salt water tank at home. So he always said he wanted to put saltwater fish in my tank, and we always travel from Corpus to San Antonio or Austin or some other place, because here in Laredo we didn’t have a lot of variety “said Under the sea owner Mary Mendez. “So he was telling me it was expensive to buy the fish, and on top of that take care of it and pay for the gas and all that.”

According to Mendez, that’s when the couple decided to buy more fish with the goal of bringing them to Laredo and start selling them. Although at first they couldn’t because they had to have a business license and permits. Nevertheless, it motivated the couple to go ahead and plan the opening.

Mendez said she and her husband Clark started a small business 13 years ago, but closed it as they started their family and had to return to work because they didn’t have time. to take care of the new business.

Now that their children are older – ages 12 and 8 – they can try again.

“Her dream was to have her two boys help us run the business because our boys really love pets and reptiles,” Mendez said of her husband. “So now, 13 years later…he tells me now we can finally get the boys to come to the store and help us feed the animals, and…they come in and enjoy it.”

Mendez said if the boys didn’t like pets, they wouldn’t be used to helping out every once in a while, especially in the summer when the school year is over. However, she said her children really enjoy interacting with animals and feeding them.

Mendez said that for a pet business, it’s difficult to get the permits needed to sell the variety of different fish, reptiles and other animals.

“It was difficult because at first we opened a much smaller location and it was on Frankfurt Street, but it was really small. We couldn’t put too much in this location because we would have people coming in and posting comments on Facebook like, ‘Isn’t that too many rabbits for such an enclosure?’ And so we had a lot of people who were against having animals locked in too much,” Mendez said.

“We had a little argument with people who don’t like animals being locked up, so it was a little difficult. But at the same time, people in town were like, “It’s good that you’re doing that, because we don’t have many in Laredo. So we had ups and downs, but it was a roller coaster. It was tough, but it was rewarding. »

Overall, Mendez said people who visit the store always provide them with positive feedback about what they do and the selection of pets they have to offer. People expressed more excitement that they no longer need to go out of town just to buy pets.

Mendez said many people who visit her store can also interact with the different varieties of pets without any purchase commitment, because she wants people to know what kind of pets they have and how they can be from. good pets.

“People can come and interact and take pictures, and we give them and show them how they could take care of their pets,” Mendez said. “We not only sell them a chameleon, but we also educate them on how to take care of it – what it needs, what lights it needs, what care it needs, what diet it needs We educate them.

“And we’re not just selling them something that they can’t take care of, so they don’t have to come back and say they lost their pet.”

Mendez said that although there are major pet stores in town that sell pet supplies, there isn’t much competition in their specific field locally because they see it as an untapped market.

“Honestly, I don’t think we have much competition with Petco. They have a lot more stuff because it’s a bigger place, but when it comes to fish and reptiles, I think we’re more stocked than them,” she said. “I just hope more people come to check it out, and why not even bring more people to Laredo?”

As the store has just opened, the owners already have plans for the future. They hope to at some point be able to have puppies in their store.