By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Running a pet and pet supply store is a dream job for Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies owner Tammy Frieze. The store opened in the former Brightside Hobbies location on 100 Avenue Dec. 1 and is a continuation of Frieze’s life-long love of animals of all kinds.
“As a child my uncle always had tanks and animals, and I was never allowed animals,” Frieze said. “So I used to take a great interest in helping him and learning as a very young child. As I grew up, not having a place to have animals, I’d take care of other people’s animals.”
But while Noah’s Ark is a new business in Morinville, it is not Frieze’s first pet and pet supply store. The local businesswoman ran a similar shop in Yorkton, Saskatchewan for six years before selling the business to move to the area with her daughter.
“My daughter wanted to move out here to finish her high school and to learn the city and driving [in the city] for university,” Frieze said, adding her daughter has since return to Saskatchewan for her last year of schooling.
After three-and-a-half years away from the business she loves, Frieze felt it was time to open another shop. “I’m liking working for myself as opposed to other people. I looked around and Morinville was in need of one because one had just finished closing down.”
Although smaller than her original shop, Frieze has packed her shop with a wide range of pets and pet supplies, carrying a number of major brands, including Nutrience pet food and Morinville-manufactured Arcana and Orijen pet foods.
“We’re a full line pet and pet supply store,” she said. “I have all the live animals. If I don’t have it in, I can get it in. I have all the live food to feed your snakes, your larger reptiles. Your crickets, your mealworms, your pinkies, hoppers, fuzzies – even live mice.”
Additionally, Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies carry a full line of aquatic fish, including cold water and tropical fish.
Frieze said she would like to eventually get into pet grooming because she is a certified groomer, and plans to offer pet babysitting services for smaller animals, including birds, hamsters and the like.
“We don’t have anybody that babysits birds out here,” Frieze said, adding she’ll be babysitting a parrot over the holidays. “It’s stuff like that I’d eventually like to see.”
But whatever service areas Noah’s Ark expands into, Frieze said service will be the key.
While pets are the focus of her business, it’s the people that have drawn her back into the profession.
“It’s the people,” she said. “I find people with pets have a very gentle spirit, kind hearts. They seem to care like I care. I’ve had little kids come in where their little hamster of three years finally passed away. You feel for what that kid is feeling. You cry with them because you feel it. You’ve been there. I think pet stores succeed because you have the heart. You care because you feel what your customers feel. And I think it’s very important.”
Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Frieze said she is looking at introducing later hours on Thursday nights in the new year.