Welcome to the Reptile Room, serving the Bay Area since 1996 with expert snake, frog, lizard and turtle sales, service and supplies. We strive to bring you the very best in quality animals, along with advice to keep your pet happy and healthy. We bring you the Best Selection of Reptiles, Amphibians & Exotic Animals from around the World.
Established on June 1, 1996, I had always wanted to own my own pet store. Before opening the Reptile Room, I worked at three other pet stores and gained knowledge from all of them. Now all of the stores I worked at are out of business. I think this is in large part to the Internet and large pet chains that make it difficult for family owned businesses to survive. My grandfather passed away in 2006 and I inherited $2500 from him that year. I decided to open my store with that money. My father found me a small building at 16049 East 14th St in San Leandro. The rent was only $300! The building was super small. That’s where we came up with the name “Reptile Room”. It was just one small room. The store measured ten feet wide and twenty feet long. We filled the store with a few glass reptile cages and few animals. There was not much due to our small budget. However, business was exceptional on our first day. Two stores in San Leandro had closed the day before we opened. San Leandro Pets and Thearies Pet Shop both sent customers our way, since they were going out of business. Also, my old boss from B Street Pet Shop in Hayward had given me free shelving and accessories.
After one year in business we decided to expand. My girlfriend and I looked all over for a new location. We found one at 1342 Bockman Rd in San Lorenzo. The building was HUGE!!! I knew there was no way we could afford the rent. The new location was 6000 sq ft. Our old store was 200 sq ft. The owner of the building wanted $2500 a month for rent. There was no way we could fill the space or afford the rent. After talking to the landlord we worked out a deal for $1000/month for the first year and $1500/month for the second year. But we still had the problem of filling the place. We moved our tiny store into the new place. We built a wall of cages to conceal the empty space. As we grew we pushed the cages backward until we filled the whole store. We finally had the place full. We made this possible by working everyday and living for free with my girlfriend’s grandmother. Some months we would work 30 days straight with no days off. We always reinvested our profits back into the business. Things were going great until tragedy struck. On January 4, 2004 our store caught fire. The store was a complete loss. Hundreds of animals lost their lives. We tried to save as many as we could. The fire fighters let us go in as soon as the fire was out. The store was still full of smoke. We went in with flash lights and started throwing animal into garbage cans to collect them. We saved close to 100 different animals that night.
Months went by before I finally received a check from the insurance company. It was time to rebuild. My dad had to loan me money because the insurance money wasn’t enough. We found our new location at our present location: 1223
A Street in Hayward. We reopened, ironically, on June 1, 2004, the same month and day as our first opening. At this reopening my girlfriend was now my wife and we had a little son, Logan, to celebrate with. We had many friends that had helped us through this journey. My friends have helped me build this store over the course of many years. Hopefully we will survive and remain open for many children to come see our animals. It’s funny, I now have adults coming in my store with their children and they tell me they “remember the old location when they were kids.” It makes me laugh and happy. Owning a pet store here in California is not easy! There used to be many pet stores around here. They were all friendly and fun to go see, but big corporations took them out. Some of my favorites were:
Castro Valley Pet Shop
Living Creatures in Castro Valley
B Street Pets in Hayward
Hayward Pet Shop
The Aquarium in Hayward
Mcclouds Pet Emporium
The Rain Forest in Hayward
Thearies Pet Shop San Leandro
San Leandro Pet Shop
All of these stores closed, but all of them helped me one way or the other.