Glendale pet store thrives through turbulent times

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Whether someone is looking for an ostrich or a gerbil, chances are, Pratt’s Pets has what every animal lover is looking for.

The family-owned pet store can be found at 5237 W. Glendale Ave.  Pratt’s sells pets, livestock, feed and anything else animal owners and breeders may need.  They also provide services for the animals such as vaccinations, grooming, and pet lodging. Curbside pickup is offered as a way for customers to social distance.

Pratt’s is a smaller store, considering the number of animals it holds. They sell everything from hamsters, ferrets, cockatiels, peacocks, goats, and pigs, to everything in between.

“We have had an ostrich before,” Vivianna Villescaz said, a six-year employee at Pratt’s Pets. “She was about 5-foot when we had her. She was pretty awesome. We have had snakes that were up to six-foot and we have actually had people bring in rattlesnakes and hawks because they did not know what to do with them. But sadly, we had to tell them we could not take them.”

Pet food and other supplies line a couple of the brightly colored walls of the store. The contrasting wall holds terrariums for snakes and lizards as well as brooders for baby chickens.

The middle aisles consist of aviaries for the birds and homes for ferrets, guinea pigs, and other furry critters. In the back lot, behind the store, are where the livestock, roosts, and lengthy rows of bird cages lay.

Despite all that is unfolding in the world, Pratt’s Pets is better than usual. The shop stayed open during the pandemic and sales have increased by 20.2 percent, Nate Infurna, the store manager said.

“The real hardship we faced during the pandemic were vendors and distributors being out of stock, so there was a lot of backlog of products. Supply was short, that was really the only thing that affected us,” Infurna said. He mentioned that Pratt’s relies on receiving much of its inventory from other states, but because of the stricter COVID-19 and shut-down policies in these other states, supply has been slim.

This slowdown in supply is part of the reason for Pratt’s recent price increases. As a result of the high demand, however, this has not slowed down business.

Pratt’s Pets employs 12 people at its Glendale location. “At Pratt’s you are not really treated like just an employee, you are more like a part of the family.  I like getting to interact with the customers and every day is a different day,” Villescaz said.

The 85-year-old pet store, sometimes called Your Neighborhood Zoo, opened in 1936, when Emerson Wilcken Pratt started the business.  Since then, the company has expanded. They have opened an additional two stores, one in Mesa, and the other in El Mirage.

In terms of the variety of animals, pet food, or other supplies and accessories, Pratt’s Pets has a little bit of everything.