RANDOLPH — There’s a new pet shop in town. On Oct. 16, Hot Scales Pets opened at 133 Main St., following a ribbon cutting ceremony with local and state officials.
Owners Jason and Erica Skinner have expanded their flagship store, Pearl City Pets in Jamestown, by adding a second location in Randolph. When customers arrive, they’ll see 3-foot-long lizard Mushu, an Argentine Black and White Tegu, that Skinner says is one of the shop’s mascots.
Like the flagship store, the Randolph location is also a full-service store offering a variety of pets and the accessories needed to care for them. They carry a variety of birds including love birds, cockatiels, finches, parakeets and canaries.
There are reptiles including turtles and tortoises, snakes, anoles, bearded dragons, leopard geckos and sometimes frogs. A tarantula can be found in the store as well as both saltwater and freshwater fish. For the customers who prefer furry pets, the store carries rabbits, hamsters, Guinea pigs, mice and rats.
“I don’t do snakes or tarantulas,” Jason Skinner said with a chuckle. “My wife handles them.”
Although the store does not sell dogs and cats, they carry toys and treats for both. Skinner said the only dogs they plan to sell at their store are the Pomeranian they bred themselves.
Skinner said it seemed like a good opportunity to expand his business into the Randolph and Frewsburg areas because rent was reasonable at both places.
“It’s something this area didn’t have. I’m the only pet store between Jamestown and Randolph. Money-wise, I hope it was smart to open these extra stores,” he said. “I also want to give to the community. I don’t want to see my customers in those two areas drive all the way to my store in Jamestown.”
Originally from Salamanca, Skinner now resides in Jamestown with his wife and four children. The couple previously had a restaurant in Jamestown called Skinner’s Kitchen that was doing really well until the COVID-19 pandemic closed it after five months. Skinner said they spent their life’s savings to open their restaurant and had little credit built up, so there was no financial help for them.
In an effort to keep their business alive, he said they modified the business by adding a convenience store inside the restaurant. When they saw that the restaurant wasn’t going to make it, they closed it down.
Since the food sales were doing well at the convenience store they rented another part of the building to expand, added some fish tanks and reopened as Skinner’s Convenience. Then they got into some reptiles that did well, but slowly outgrew their space and had to move again. Skinner said Pearl City Pets, located at 201 Cherry St. in Jamestown, has been open since November 2020.
“We are expanding into Frewsburg at 15 Water St. and hope to open about the second week in November,” he said. “We secured the building about three months ago and have been redoing the inside getting it ready.”
Hot Scales Pets in Randolph is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. Skinner plans to adjust hours of operation based on demand. For more information, call (716) 294-9128.