Do you have a finicky pet at home or one that has been, by chance, put on a special diet by your veterinarian? If so, then consider stopping in to Animal House Naturals Pet Center. Owner James Nannen started out in New England, building his brand up to four stores. Luckily for us, he relocated to St. Pete in 1981, and has either leased or purchased several properties in our city over the years. For about the past seven years, Jim, his manager Emily Stoft and their knowledgeable staff at Animal House Naturals Pet Center have been helping you to care for even your most particular pets at their location in the Northeast Park Shopping Center. But they have been your friendly neighborhood pet store for more than 35 years!
You long-timers might remember one of the first iterations of Animal House, back when Jim bought Grout’s Pet Shop. After the business moved to 34th Street, it was eventually sold to Steve Silk, a longtime employee. By 1991, Jim took the plunge and bought a beautiful, freestanding bank building on 4th Street, which allowed him to expand to over 8000 sq. ft. of retail space. There, they prospered and served their community for the better part of 20 years, renaming it Animal House Naturals in 2007. This was the premier, full-line pet store in St. Pete long before any big box stores came on the scene. The store’s tagline was, “If you’re shopping anywhere else, you’re not having as much fun!”
About seven years ago, Animal House Naturals Pet Center downsized a bit and landed in its present shopping center location, anchored by the old Publix #610, a hallmark in the community. Here, you’ll find a very pet-friendly, neighborhood vibe, with expert personal service delivered by Emily Stoft and her longstanding, talented team. I was pleased to meet Emily, a great source for this story, who came to work at Animal House right out of high school. Believe it or not, her 18 years of experience is eclipsed by Susan, who is a 28-year veteran! Lori has 14 years of service under her belt, and rest assured, these folks—along with the remainder of the crew, each with three to seven years’ expertise in all things pet-related—are all ready to help you to discover the products that will best suit your unique pet.
While you won’t see dogs or cats for sale these days (plenty are waiting to be adopted from local shelters), what you will see are open “petters” within the store, filled with a variety of small, socialized animals quite used to being handled. You and the kids will be hard-pressed not to fall in love with their antics! There are chicks available in the springtime, ready to roost in your urban backyards; hamsters and guinea pigs at times, and even other exotic pets, like prairie dogs! Animal House Naturals sells over 5,000 crickets a week as food for those reptiles you have come to love. Who knew? Mealworms and mice are also available to feed those snakes you’re hosting in your household. Looking for more of an aquatic ambiance? There are ten-gallon starter tanks, Betas and Glowfish available. If you’re in need of anything you don’t readily see, just ask. Special orders are available to fix you up with anything you might require.
Most of all, if you need advice, reassurance, a friendly face or all of the above, come on by to see Emily and her crew. They’ll help you learn your way around the fully stocked rows containing over 50 different varieties of canned or bagged, frozen and refrigerated, unprocessed and raw dog food, as well as the sound nutrition necessary for all types of exotic pets. There are leashes, collars, food bowls, pet beds and toys, homemade treats; a whole array of Animal House lotions, shampoos and conditioners; and even personalized pet tags. You name it—all the pet paraphernalia you could imagine lines the shelves and walls to the max. It’s an astounding use of space, to be sure. And remember, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask. Chances are, they have it, but if not, a special order is easy as pie.
On my way out, I realized that I didn’t know what to get my “grand-dogs”, who are local patrons since moving to the area. Nana couldn’t very well visit them empty-handed, right? As I scratched my head looking at the myriad of choices, Emily said she’d be glad to look up their purchase preferences in the store’s retail computer. Now that’s a neat trick! Sure enough, she was able to turn me on to the Stella and Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Meat Toppers and the Bully Sticks that my little Ryker and Stella absolutely adore. Nothing but the best for my grand-dogs, because they deserve it!
Give your special pet the preferential treatment only found at Animal House Naturals Pet Center. Hope to see you there!
Animal House Naturals Pet Center is located in the Northeast Park Shopping Center at 274 37th Ave N., St. Petersburg, FL 33704. Store hours are Monday-Saturday from 9am-8pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. For more information, call (727) 821- 4466 or visit their website at www.animalhousepets.com.