Pets have been the family business for three generations for Palos Pet Shop owner Bill Brady.
“His grandfather started it all with a pet store in Blue Island,” said Bill’s wife and business partner Mary Brady.
“We started out at 127th and Harlem in 1972,” said Mary. “Then we moved 28 years ago to our Indian Trails location.”
The pet shop at 6419 W. 127th St. in Palos Heights carries a full line of pet products and pet foods, but no dogs or cats.
“We strongly believe in adoption,” Mary said. “There are plenty of animals waiting in shelters for good homes.”
Palos Pet Shop does carry some critters.
“We have birds, fish, small animals and reptiles like the Bearded Dragon, which is quite popular,” Mary said. “We don’t do too many spiders and no snakes.”
The two keys to their continued success for the past 39 years has been staying competitive and their customer service.
“The world has certainly changed since 1972,” Mary said. “We have to remain competitive and we have to keep reassuring people that bigger is not always better in the pet business.”
Palos Pet Shop will trim the nails on some of the smaller animals and birds that it sells, but that is the extent of its grooming business.
The biggest change, Mary said, over the past four decades has been the move by pet owners to holistic and premium pet foods.
“We’ve become label readers,” she said. “People are more conscientious about the food they buy for their pets and themselves.”
“We also try to carry as many American-made products as possible,” she said.
Their love for pets carries over to their home life, Mary said.
“We have a salt water fish tank, a fresh water fish tank, an African grey parrot, a Quaker parrot and two cats at home,” she said. “But that’s down from what it has been. We’re streamlining,” she said with a laugh.
Although it’s just the two of them running the pet store now, over the past four decades, the shop has provided employment to several neighborhood youths.
“Fish nerds,” Mary said with another laugh. “A lot of them are married now and they bring their kids in to check out the zoo. We’re a lot closer than Brookfield.”
Mary and Bill have no intention of retiring anytime soon.
“We’re hanging in there,” she said. “This is a great community and as long as we can get in the car and get to the shop, we’ll be in business.”
For more information, call Palos Pet Shop at 708-371-7110. The store is open daily.