Local Business Closes Its Doors

Pet store plans to shut down due to lack of sales


Photo courtesy of Nate Carr

Nate Carr, Editor-in-Chief

In December, Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies, Decatur’s local pet store,  announced that they planned to close their doors on January 26. Following the post, the company extended the sale of fifteen percent on all goods, initially intended for the holiday season, but also limited the sale to only include goods and excluded livestock, and feeder insects and animals. A beneficial, yet bitter-sweet ending to a business with a rich history in Wise County.

The business first opened its doors in 2001 on West Walnut Street, one of the streets that runs through the town square. Andy and Janet Smith ran the store until 2010, when the business changed owners and landed in the hands of Denton Gilliam, and his parents, Debbie and Steven Males. There, on the bottom of a hill that people often overlooked, the business stayed until  moving locations from one side of town to another. On November 1 of 2013, the business opened its doors on S. FM 51 in the middle of a shopping center with Dollar General to the left, and Aaron Rents to the right. It caught the attention of many people, many of whom lacked the knowledge that the business even existed, and so unfolded the next and final chapter in the business’ life.

“I’ve been with the business since it was still on Walnut street. I started as a volunteer the summer before it moved when I was 12,” employee and senior Nathaniel Carr said. “I remember boxing up everything and draining tanks. Funny enough, I remember a problem we had when we first moved was that the stand that the fish tanks sat on was too tall, so we had to cut a section of the bottom off just so we could get it out the door.”

This same stand that the Smiths built in 2001, now stands in the store now with empty holes as the tanks sold to make way for something else.

“It’s surreal to see the store looking so empty. Last time it looked like this was when we first moved here in 2013,” Carr said.

Customers and employees alike find this departure saddening, but the employees started recommending alternative options for customer’s needs after the aforementioned closure. All of the employees also have new jobs lined up and outside the front door, a “for lease” sign hangs welcoming new inquiries. Even without the business actually existing, the legacy remains.

“It does make me feel great when I’ve  helped someone to meet their needs and give them the information that they needed,” the owner and manager of Noah’s Ark, Steve Males said.

“That is something you can’t buy online.”