A long-time St. Catharines pet store has gone into business under a new name.
Garden City Pets (formerly Petland) located at 318 Ontario Street has been a pet store for over 20 years.
It was called Henley Pets until 2000 when Jennifer and Garth Burman took over and the store was renamed Petland. This year, when renewing the contract with the Petland franchise, Jennifer said they had decided to go independent. And with that decision came a new name: Garden City Pets.
Jennifer explained that although they were affiliated with the Petland franchise, it is more well known in Western Canada. She said it was the only Petland site in Ontario.
While trying to come up with the new name, she said they wanted to come up with something simple. “I asked the staff to help me and I was trying to come up with names,” she said. “And because it’s the Garden City…we wanted something that was easily off the tongue. Garth had said a long time ago that he liked the name (Garden City Pets), so that’s what we ended up choosing.
Jennifer said the new name has confused customers, but she wants them to know they can expect the same customer service when they visit. “It’s great that we’ve been here for so long because everyone sort of knows us,” she said. “It was a bit difficult to rename it. I have people who think it’s still not us, and so that was a big deal. A lot of customers would say, ‘is it the same owners, the same things?’ It was like, ‘Yes, yes, yes, it’s the same.’ »
While Garden City Pets offers products for cats and dogs, they are well known for their fish. And it will continue.
A dark room to the side of the main store features dozens of tanks offering fish of all types and sizes. They also offer a selection of aquatic plants and reptiles. “When we took over the store, we bought it back in 2000, there was already this fish (room),” Jennifer said. “So a lot of people in the community already knew they could come here and fish.” Her husband, Garth, has been raising fish since he was seven years old, so he’s their “fish guy.”
“When it comes to reptiles, we just want to carry a bit of everything so our customers can feel like they have a choice between reptiles and fish,” she said, adding that they appeal to local breeders when possible.
Besides scaly pets, they also offer small furry animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs. Jennifer said ferrets have been particularly popular since the pandemic began.
The store wouldn’t be itself if it weren’t for Noah, a green-winged macaw, who has spent most of his life with the Burmese. Born in 1999, Noah resided in another Burmese-owned Petland, until they moved him to St. Catharines in 2000. He has been there ever since and serves as the store’s mascot.
Although neither of them were born in Niagara, Jennifer said she was happy to call St. Catharines home.
“I love this area,” she says. “It’s one of my favorite areas. I love all the vineyards and trails, there is so much to do. We have a very good clientele and we really try to develop relationships with our clients. So keeping (the store) here means so much to us.