The Press Newspaper
Naming their new pet store, Pet Finatics LLC, didn't come overnight for David Grosjean II and his fiancee, Tracy Kamelesky.
"We were going round and round with names for like two months," Grosjean said. "We were trying to figure out a play on words of some sort, but we didn't want to be too out of the ordinary. This just popped in my head and we discussed it with a few people. We had two pages of names we went through."
Pet Finatics was almost Pets Unlimited, or, better yet, Tank Dogs.
"My friends sometimes call me Tank," Grosjean said, "because I used to do aquarium maintenance."
Make no mistake, this guy was destined to either work in a pet store or own one.
The Oregon native and 2000 Clay graduate, Grosjean, 27, opened his 5,500-square-foot Pet Finatics store on July 2. It is located at 3150 Navarre Ave., Suite A in front of the Holiday Inn.
"He started working for a local pet store years ago, when he was about 8 or 9, by helping out after school," said Grosjean's mother, Shirley Norton. "He would wait on people and clean fish tanks in exchange for pet food or pets. It was such a novelty that people used to come into the store and ask for David."
Grosjean has been a poster boy for animal lovers since he was little. By the time he was in the third grade, he owned 72 different species of animals.
"My mom let me keep them in the basement," Grosjean said. "She fueled my passion for the whole thing. I had birds. I had Conures, which is a variety of parrot. I had parakeets. I bred cockatiels. I had hamsters and gerbils.
"My greatest passion is for reptiles and fish. It took me probably two years until my mom let me keep my first snake in the house. It was an albino corn snake. When it got out I didn't want to tell her. I didn't want that to be the end of snakes in the house. I ended up finding it. It crawled up behind the headboard in my bed."
As a kid, Grosjean would work at the old Northwood Aquarium twice a week for an hour each time and clean the fronts of aquariums. He was hooked.
"It all just sort of started from there," Grosjean said. "I started helping customers and they were pleased with the information I was giving them, and it just turned into a helper's position."
Grosjean and Kamelesky both graduated from the University of Toledo with degrees in personal entrepreneurship. Their goal: to own a pet shop. Grosjean and Kamelesky are the sole owners - and for now the only employees - at Pet Finatics.
"The months leading up to the first day of the opening, it didn't really hit me what we were doing until I got all the products in here and we got our first customers," said Grosjean, a former manager at Sweet Feed on Starr Avenue. "It was an amazing feeling and a dream come true."
Pet Finatics' inventory includes supplies for fish, reptiles and small animals, aquariums, and a full line of premium dog and cat food. Within the next month or so it will offer freshwater and saltwater fish, reptiles, birds and small animals such as hamsters, Guinea pigs and gerbils.
Pet Finatics is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 12-6 p.m. For more information call 419-260-8450.