SAUK RAPIDS -- A new central Minnesota business caters to pet owners with eclectic taste.

Fizards Aquatics and Exotics, located at 115 Division Street in Sauk Rapids, specializes in tropical fish, lizards, snakes, and amphibians, along with feeder mice, rats and insects. The shop also stocks aquariums and accessories.

The store, owned by husband-wife team Amanda and AJ Gohman, opened on Oct. 2. Both Gohmans are former employees of now-closed exotic pet shop Fins and Friends in Waite Park.

"We learned a lot about what people want from working at the old place," A.J. says. "We want to bring into our new store what people are desiring."

The Gohmans signed a lease for the space, formerly occupied by Gypsy Lea's, in September. They estimate they, along with a small handful of family, have devoted roughly 17-18 hours of each day setting the shop up.

Amanda says business has been "as expected:" so far, most of their customers are experienced reptile and fish owners, arriving in search of mice, rats and bugs to feed their snakes and lizards.

Fizards Exotics and Aquatics

As far as pets are concerned, AJ says bearded dragons, a type of lizard, and ball pythons are among the most popular. The couple breeds their own bearded dragons, with designs on breeding different colors of lizards in the future. Other creatures are sourced from Minnesota-based breeders.The cost of exotic fish and other creatures varies wildly, ranging from a few dollars for fish to $600 for certain snakes.

Amanda says people learn a lot when they spend time in the shop observing and handling reptiles.

"Last night, I had two people in here, and their kids know more about the reptiles than they do," Amanda says. "They came in without their kids and I sat and talked to them. They held a (bearded dragon) and they're like, 'wow, this is really cool!' They got to see how they interact with other lizards, how they behave. People don't know the personality reptiles have."

Amanda calls the popular bearded dragon the "dog" of the reptile world. "They have their own personalities. They can learn their names. They'll hang out with you."

Abby Faulkner
A bearded dragon (Abby Faulkner)

The Gohmans enjoy helping new reptile and fish owners learn the proper way to set up aquariums and equipment. "We're always willing to help them, in the store or through social media," Amanda says.

AJ says word-of-mouth, along with social media and fliers, have been helpful in drumming up business so far. They're planning a grand opening celebration with product giveaways and food some time in November.

Fizards Aquatics and Exotics is open Sun.-Tues: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. They're closed Wednesdays.

For more, visit them on Facebook.


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