PLAINVILLE – This past July, New England Herpetoculture moved to a storefront on Woodford Avenue.
From 2010 to 2012, NEHERP had a walk-in shop in New Britain, but since 2012, the business was online-only.
Mike Siavrakas owns the shop with his wife, Jessica. Mike Smith is their most senior employee.
Siavrakas started the company about 13 years ago, and Smith has been with him for the last decade. New England Herpetoculture manufactures living terrarium ecosystems.
Discussing the move to Plainville, Siavrakas said they wanted their customers to be able to come out and see all the products they carry, in person, and bring them home that day.
Herpetoculture is the keeping of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity, whether as a hobby or commercial breeding operation.
“We don’t want to be known as a pet store,” Siavrakas said. “We do sell animals, but we sell plants primarily.”
Siavrakas said the goal is to help people bring a piece of the wilderness indoors, responsibly. “These animals are our babies,” he said. “We raise them from when they hatch until they are fully grown. Some we have had for several years.”
Walking into the shop, customers encounter several rows of live terrarium houses of various color, size and shape. The terrariums can house animals such as geckos, frogs and fish.
“Every one one of our animals is well socialized,” Smith said. “Green geckos are harder to handle because they are lightning fast.”
NEHERP, 161 Woodford Ave., Unit 58A, is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.